Global molecular alterations involving recurrence or progression of pediatric brain tumors

Neoplasia. 2022 Jan;24(1):22-33. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2021.11.014. Epub 2021 Dec 3.


Background: We aimed to identify molecular changes in recurrent or progressive pediatric brain tumors, as compared to the corresponding initial tumors from the same patients, using genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data from a unique and large cohort of 55 patients and 63 recurrent or progressive tumors from the Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium, representing various histologic types.

Methods: We carried out paired analyses for each gene between recurrent/progressive and initial tumor groups, using RNA-sequencing and mass spectrometry-based proteomic data. By whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis, we also examined somatic DNA events for a set of cancer-associated genes.

Results: Of 44 patients examined by WGS, 35 involved at least one cancer-associated gene with a somatic alteration event in a recurrent or progressive tumor that was not present in the initial tumor, including genes NF1, CDKN2A, CCND2, EGFR, and MYCN. By paired analysis, 68 mRNA transcripts were differentially expressed in recurrent/progressive tumors with p<0.001, and these genes could predict patient outcomes in an independent set of pediatric brain tumors. Gene transcript-level associations with recurrence or progression were enriched for protein-level associations. There was a significant overlap in results from pediatric brain tumors and results from adult brain tumors from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Unsupervised analysis defined five subsets of recurrent or progressive tumors, with differences in gene expression and overall patient survival.

Conclusions: Our study uncovers genes showing consistent expression differences in recurrent or progressive tumors. These genes may provide molecular clues as to processes or pathways underlying more aggressive pediatric brain tumors.

Keywords: Pediatric brain tumors; Progression; Proteomics; RNA-sequencing; Recurrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Child
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Exome Sequencing
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Recurrence
  • Transcriptome


  • Biomarkers, Tumor