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DNA methylation, transcriptome and genetic copy number signatures of diffuse cerebral WHO grade II/III gliomas resolve cancer heterogeneity and development


Binder, H; Willscher, E; Loeffler-Wirth, H; Hopp, L; Jones, D T W; Pfister, S M; Kreuz, M; et al; Weller, Michael (2019). DNA methylation, transcriptome and genetic copy number signatures of diffuse cerebral WHO grade II/III gliomas resolve cancer heterogeneity and development. Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 7(1):59.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Diffuse lower WHO grade II and III gliomas (LGG) are slowly progressing brain tumors, many of which eventually transform into a more aggressive type. LGG is characterized by widespread genetic and transcriptional heterogeneity, yet little is known about the heterogeneity of the DNA methylome, its function in tumor biology, coupling with the transcriptome and tumor microenvironment and its possible impact for tumor development.
METHODS
We here present novel DNA methylation data of an LGG-cohort collected in the German Glioma Network containing about 85% isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutated tumors and performed a combined bioinformatics analysis using patient-matched genome and transcriptome data.
RESULTS
Stratification of LGG based on gene expression and DNA-methylation provided four consensus subtypes. We characterized them in terms of genetic alterations, functional context, cellular composition, tumor microenvironment and their possible impact for treatment resistance and prognosis. Glioma with astrocytoma-resembling phenotypes constitute the largest fraction of nearly 60%. They revealed largest diversity and were divided into four expression and three methylation groups which only partly match each other thus reflecting largely decoupled expression and methylation patterns. We identified a novel G-protein coupled receptor and a cancer-related 'keratinization' methylation signature in in addition to the glioma-CpG island methylator phenotype (G-CIMP) signature. These different signatures overlap and combine in various ways giving rise to diverse methylation and expression patterns that shape the glioma phenotypes. The decrease of global methylation in astrocytoma-like LGG associates with higher WHO grade, age at diagnosis and inferior prognosis. We found analogies between astrocytoma-like LGG with grade IV IDH-wild type tumors regarding possible worsening of treatment resistance along a proneural-to-mesenchymal axis. Using gene signature-based inference we elucidated the impact of cellular composition of the tumors including immune cell bystanders such as macrophages.
CONCLUSIONS
Genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic factors act in concert but partly also in a decoupled fashion what underpins the need for integrative, multidimensional stratification of LGG by combining these data on gene and cellular levels to delineate mechanisms of gene (de-)regulation and to enable better patient stratification and individualization of treatment.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Diffuse lower WHO grade II and III gliomas (LGG) are slowly progressing brain tumors, many of which eventually transform into a more aggressive type. LGG is characterized by widespread genetic and transcriptional heterogeneity, yet little is known about the heterogeneity of the DNA methylome, its function in tumor biology, coupling with the transcriptome and tumor microenvironment and its possible impact for tumor development.
METHODS
We here present novel DNA methylation data of an LGG-cohort collected in the German Glioma Network containing about 85% isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutated tumors and performed a combined bioinformatics analysis using patient-matched genome and transcriptome data.
RESULTS
Stratification of LGG based on gene expression and DNA-methylation provided four consensus subtypes. We characterized them in terms of genetic alterations, functional context, cellular composition, tumor microenvironment and their possible impact for treatment resistance and prognosis. Glioma with astrocytoma-resembling phenotypes constitute the largest fraction of nearly 60%. They revealed largest diversity and were divided into four expression and three methylation groups which only partly match each other thus reflecting largely decoupled expression and methylation patterns. We identified a novel G-protein coupled receptor and a cancer-related 'keratinization' methylation signature in in addition to the glioma-CpG island methylator phenotype (G-CIMP) signature. These different signatures overlap and combine in various ways giving rise to diverse methylation and expression patterns that shape the glioma phenotypes. The decrease of global methylation in astrocytoma-like LGG associates with higher WHO grade, age at diagnosis and inferior prognosis. We found analogies between astrocytoma-like LGG with grade IV IDH-wild type tumors regarding possible worsening of treatment resistance along a proneural-to-mesenchymal axis. Using gene signature-based inference we elucidated the impact of cellular composition of the tumors including immune cell bystanders such as macrophages.
CONCLUSIONS
Genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic factors act in concert but partly also in a decoupled fashion what underpins the need for integrative, multidimensional stratification of LGG by combining these data on gene and cellular levels to delineate mechanisms of gene (de-)regulation and to enable better patient stratification and individualization of treatment.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pathology and Forensic Medicine
Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Life Sciences > Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:25 April 2019
Deposited On:30 Oct 2019 15:46
Last Modified:12 Sep 2020 13:24
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:2051-5960
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s40478-019-0704-8
PubMed ID:31023364

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