Purpose: Pediatric glioblastoma (pGBM) is a rare, but devastating brain tumor. In contrast to GBM in adults (aGBM), little is known about the mechanisms underlying its development. Our aim is to gain insight into the molecular pathways of pGBM. Materials and Methods: Thirty-two pGBM and seven aGBM samples were investigated using biochemical and transcriptional profiling. Ras and Akt pathway activation was assessed through the phosphorylation of downstream effectors, and gene expression profiles were generated using the University Health Network Human 19K cDNA arrays. Results were validated using real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry and compared with existing data sets on aGBM. Results: There are at least two subsets of pGBM. One subset, associated with Ras and Akt pathway activation, has very poor prognosis and exhibits increased expression of genes related to proliferation and to a neural stem-cell phenotype, similar to findings in aggressive aGBM. This subset was still molecularly distinguishable from aGBM after unsupervised and supervised analysis of expression profiles. A second subset, with better prognosis, is not associated with activation of Akt and Ras pathways, may originate from astroglial progenitors, and does not express gene signatures and markers shown to be associated with long-term survival in aGBM. Both subsets of pGBM show overexpression of Y-box-protein-1 that may help drive oncogenesis in this tumor. Conclusion: Our work, the first study of gene expression profiles in pGBM, provides valuable insight into active pathways and targets in a cancer with minimal survival, and suggests that these tumors cannot be understood exclusively through studies of aGBM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research