Revealing Pan-Histology Immunomodulatory Targets in Pediatric Central Nervous System Tumors

Robert T. Galvin, Sampreeti Jena, Danielle Maeser, Robert Gruener, R. Stephanie Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The application of immunotherapy for pediatric CNS malignancies has been limited by the poorly understood immune landscape in this context. The aim of this study was to uncover the mechanisms of immune suppression common among pediatric brain tumors. Methods: We apply an immunologic clustering algorithm validated by The Cancer Genome Atlas Project to an independent pediatric CNS transcriptomic dataset. Within the clusters, the mechanisms of immunosuppression are explored via tumor microenvironment deconvolution and survival analyses to identify relevant immunosuppressive genes with translational relevance. Results: High-grade diseases fall predominantly within an immunosuppressive subtype (C4) that independently lowers overall survival time and where common immune checkpoints (e.g., PDL1, CTLA4) are less relevant. Instead, we identify several alternative immunomodulatory targets with relevance across histologic diseases. Specifically, we show how the mechanism of EZH2 inhibition to enhance tumor immunogenicity in vitro via the upregulation of MHC class 1 is applicable to a pediatric CNS oncologic context. Meanwhile, we identify that the C3 (inflammatory) immune subtype is more common in low-grade diseases and find that immune checkpoint inhibition may be an effective way to curb progression for this subset. Conclusions: Three predominant immunologic clusters are identified across pediatric brain tumors. Among high-risk diseases, the predominant immune cluster is associated with recurrent immunomodulatory genes that influence immune infiltrate, including a subset that impacts survival across histologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5455
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • epigenetics
  • immunotherapy
  • pediatric CNS malignancies
  • tumor immunosuppression
  • tumor microenvironment

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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