Medulloblastoma with transitional features between Group 3 and Group 4 is associated with good prognosis

J Neurooncol. 2018 Jun;138(2):231-240. doi: 10.1007/s11060-018-2797-5. Epub 2018 Feb 9.


Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor, is a heterogeneous disease, with the existence of at least four molecular types: Wingless (WNT), Sonic Hedgehog (SHH), Group 3 and Group 4 tumors. The latter two groups, which can be identified by an application of multi-gene expression or methylation profiling, show sometimes ambiguous categorization and are still classified for diagnostic reason as non-SHH/non-WNT medulloblastomas in updated WHO 2016 classification. In order to better characterize non-SHH/non-WNT tumors, we applied the method based on the Nanostring nCounter Technology, using the 26 genes codeset in 68 uniformly treated medulloblastoma patients. This allowed for identification of tumors, which shared common Group 3 and Group 4 gene signatures. We recognized three transcriptional groups within non-WNT/non-SHH tumors: Group 3, Group 4 and the Intermediate 3/4 Group. Group 3, in line with previously published results, showed poor prognosis with survival rate < 40%, frequent metastases, large cell/anaplastic pathology and presence of tumors with MYCC amplification. This is in contrast to patients from the Intermediate 3/4 Group who showed the best survival rate (100%). Overall and progression free survival were better for this group than for Group 3 (p = 0.001, for both) and Group 4 (p = 0.064 and p = 0.066, respectively). Our work supports the view that within the non-WNT/non-SHH tumors different risk groups exist and that the current two groups classifier may be not sufficient for proper clinical categorization of individual patients.

Keywords: Intermediate 3/4 group; Medulloblastoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / classification
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma / classification
  • Medulloblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Medulloblastoma / metabolism*
  • Medulloblastoma / mortality
  • Prognosis
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • RNA