Supratentorial ependymoma in childhood: more than just RELA or YAP

Acta Neuropathol. 2021 Mar;141(3):455-466. doi: 10.1007/s00401-020-02260-5. Epub 2021 Jan 22.


Two distinct genetically defined entities of ependymoma arising in the supratentorial compartment are characterized by the presence of either a C11orf95-RELA or a YAP-MAMLD1 fusion, respectively. There is growing evidence that supratentorial ependymomas without these genetic features exist. In this study, we report on 18 pediatric non-RELA/non-YAP supratentorial ependymomas that were systematically characterized by means of their histology, immunophenotype, genetics, and epigenomics. Comprehensive molecular analyses included high-resolution copy number analysis, methylation profiling, analysis of fusion transcripts by Nanostring technology, and RNA sequencing. Based upon histological and immunohistochemical features two main patterns were identified-RELA-like (n = 9) and tanycytic ependymomas (n = 6). In the RELA-like group histologically assigned to WHO grade III and resembling RELA-fused ependymomas, tumors lacked nuclear expression of p65-RelA as a surrogate marker for a pathological activation of the NF-κB pathway. Three tumors showed alternative C11orf95 fusions to MAML2 or NCOA1. A methylation-based brain tumor classifier assigned two RELA-like tumors to the methylation class "EP, RELA-fusion"; the others demonstrated no significant similarity score. Of the tanycytic group, 5/6 tumors were assigned a WHO grade II. No gene fusions were detected. Methylation profiling did not show any association with an established methylation class. We additionally identified two astroblastoma-like tumors that both presented with chromothripsis of chromosome 22 but lacked MN1 breaks according to FISH analysis. They revealed novel fusion events involving genes in chromosome 22. One further tumor with polyploid cytogenetics was interpreted as PFB ependymoma by the brain tumor methylation classifier but had no relation to the posterior fossa. Clinical follow-up was available for 16/18 patients. Patients with tanycytic and astroblastoma-like tumors had no relapse, while 2 patients with RELA-like ependymomas died. Our data indicate that in addition to ependymomas discovered so far, at least two more supratentorial ependymoma types (RELA-like and tanycytic) exist.

Keywords: Brain tumor; C11orf95 fusion; Childhood; Ependymoma; Methylation profiling; Pediatric; Supratentorial; Tanycytic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ependymoma / genetics*
  • Ependymoma / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Supratentorial Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Supratentorial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Transcription Factors
  • YAP-Signaling Proteins


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • RELA protein, human
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Transcription Factors
  • YAP-Signaling Proteins
  • YAP1 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Familial ependymoma