Shared molecular targets in pediatric gliomas and ependymomas

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Recent advances in multidisciplinary treatment approaches have improved the overall prognosis of pediatric brain tumors, but some patients remain refractory to treatment and do poorly. Several molecularly targeted therapies are under development for the treatment of brain tumors, and high-grade gliomas in adults are a particular area of study.


To better understand if these new therapies can be used in pediatric populations, we examined the expression of the following seven marker genes involved in signaling pathways targeted by new therapies: β-catenin, suppressor of fused (SUFU), erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homolog (ERBB) 2, platelet-derived growth factor receptorα (PDGFRα), proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), secreted protein acid and rich in cysteine (SPARC), and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor receptor (G-CSFR). Samples from 27 patients with the primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET)/medulloblastomas (MBs) (n = 8), ependymomas (n = 5), or gliomas (n = 14) were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR. [Correction made here after initial online publication]. We assigned an EXP score to compare across samples and determined the levels of gene expression among tumor cell types.


Gene expression varied among the different tumors, but, within a tumor type, clear expression patterns were seen. The expression of SUFU, ERBB2, and PCNA in metastatic MBs were greater than that seen in non-metastatic MBs. Most glioma cases highly expressed PDGFRα and G-CSFR. Additionally, the expression patterns of gliomas and ependymomas were similar (r = 0.77, P = 0.04), but PNET/MBs substantially differed from gliomas (r = −0.37, P = 0.41) or ependymomas (r = 0.23, P = 0.62).


The development of new drugs targeting up-regulated pathways may be useful for the treatment of pediatric brain tumors. As new drugs are developed, gliomas and ependymomas may be treated with similar compounds. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2011; 57: 1117–1123. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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