Effects of different molecular subtypes and tumor biology on the prognosis of medulloblastoma

Childs Nerv Syst. 2021 Dec;37(12):3733-3742. doi: 10.1007/s00381-021-05350-1. Epub 2021 Sep 22.


Purpose: Medulloblastoma is one of the most common malignant brain tumors in the pediatric population. Recent studies identified four distinct medulloblastoma subgroups with different molecular alterations and pathways, and natural courses and outcomes. To evaluate the results of surgical and medical treatments of patients with medulloblastoma and compare them among the medulloblastoma subgroups.

Methods: The clinical and radiological features, medical and surgical management and treatment outcomes and their correlation with molecular subgroups of 58 patients treated for medulloblastoma in the last 20 years were evaluated.

Results: Fifty-eight patients, of whom 35 were male and 23 were female, were evaluated. The median age was 6 years (range, 1-19 years). The most common symptoms were nausea and vomiting (60%). Forty-three percent of the patients had headache and 40% had ataxia. Previous pathology reports revealed that 43 (74%), eight (14%), five (8%), and two (3%) had classic, desmoplastic, desmoplastic/nodular, and anaplastic morphologies, respectively. After the subgroup analyses, five patients (12%) were attributed to the wingless subgroup (WNT) group; 14 (32.5%), to the sonic hedgehog subgroup (SHH) group; and 24 (56%), to the non-WNT non-SHH group. On the basis of immunohistochemical analysis results, 15 patients could not be attributed to any subgroups. The clinical risk groups (average vs high-risk) and age at diagnosis (≥ 3 years vs < 3 years of age) were significant for 5-year event free survival (86% vs 43%, p:0.011 and 59% vs 36%, p:0.039). There was no significant difference in survival or event free survival according to molecular subtypes in this cohort.

Conclusion: In corporation of molecular features to the clinicopathologic classification leads to risk-adapted treatment. Although the molecular subgroups did not affect outcome significantly in this study, more studies with larger numbers of patients are needed to understand the tumor pathophysiology of medulloblastoma and design the future medical practice.

Keywords: Immunohistochemistry; Malignant childhood brain tumor; Medulloblastoma; Neurooncology; Tumor biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Prognosis
  • Young Adult