TMOD-03. GENES PRESERVING STEM CELL STATE IN GROUP 3 MB BTICS CONTRIBUTE TO THERAPY EVASION AND RELAPSE
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Abstract Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. Out of all the subgroups, Group 3 patients face the highest incidence of leptomeningeal spread and overall patient survival of less than 50%. Current clinical trials for recurrent MB patients based on genomic profiles of primary, treatment-naïve tumors, provide limited clinical benefit since recurrent metastatic MBs are highly genetically divergent from their primary tumors. By adapting the existing COG (Children’s Oncology Group) Protocol for children with newly diagnosed high-risk MB for treatment of immuno-deficient mice intracranially engrafted with human MB brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs), we have characterized the rare treatment-refractory cell population in Group 3 MBs. MB cell populations recovered separately from brains and spines during the course of tumor development and therapy were comprehensively profiled for gene expression analysis, stem cell and molecular features to generate a global, comparative profile of MB cells through therapy to relapse. One of the most intriguing observations from our gene expression data was consistent over-expression of proteins belonging to Inhibitor of DNA-binding/differentiation (ID) family, transcription factors with a basic helix-loop-helix motif that act as suppressors cellular differentiation and a longevity associated protein bactericidal/permeability-increasing fold-containing-family-B-member-4 (BPIFB4) in our refractory population. The persistent upregulation of genes preserving undifferentiated state and cellular longevity further strengthens the hypothesis of stem-cell like cells driving tumor relapse in MB. The upregulation of the top 90 genes in our relapse cohort was predictive of worse overall survival in patients diagnosed with Group 3 MB. Furthermore, through application of cellular barcoding technology, we next aim to determine how MB BTICs evolve in response to therapy. Our differential genomic and gene expression profiles of the “treatment-responsive” tumors against those that fail therapy will thus contribute to discovery of novel therapeutic targets for the most aggressive subgroup of MB.
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