Abstract

Background: Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor, displays marked sex differences in prevalence of the four main molecular subgroups: SHH, WNT, Group 3 and Group 4. Males are more frequently diagnosed with SHH, Group 3 and 4 tumors, which have worse prognoses than WNT tumors. Little is known about sex differences in methylation profiles within subgroups. Methods: Using publicly available methylation data (Illumina HumanMethylation450K array), we compared beta values for males versus females. Differentially methylated positions (DMP) by sex within medulloblastoma subgroups were identified on the autosomes. DMPs were mapped to genes and Reactome pathway analysis was run by subgroup. Kaplan-Meier survival curves (Log-Rank p-values) were assessed for each sex within subgroup. MethylCIBERSORT was used to investigate the tumor microenvironment using deconvolution to estimate the abundances of immune cell types using DNA methylation data. Results: There were statistically significant differences in sex by medulloblastoma subgroups (chi-squared p-value=0.00004): Group 3 (n=144; 65% male), Group 4 (n=326; 67% male), SHH (n=223; 57% male) and WNT (n=70; 41% male). Females had worse survival than males for SHH (p-value=0.02). DMPs by sex were identified within subgroups: SHH (n=131), Group 4 (n=29), Group 3 (n=19), and WNT (n=16) and validated in an independent dataset. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering showed that sex-DMPs in SHH did not correlate with other tumor attributes. Ten genes with sex DMPs (RFTN1, C1orf103, FKBP1B, COL25A1, NPDC1, B3GNT1, FOXN3, RNASEH2C, TLE1, and PHF17) were shared across subgroups. Significant pathways (p<0.05) associated with DMPs were identified for SHH (n=22) and Group 4 (n=4) and included signaling pathways for RET proto-oncogene, advanced glycosylation end product receptor, regulation of KIT, neurotrophic receptors, NOTCH, and TGF-β. In SHH, we identified DMPs in four genes (CDK6, COL25A1, MMP16, PRIM2) that encode proteins which are the target of therapies in clinical trials for other cancers. There were few sex differences in immune cell composition within tumor subgroups. Conclusion: There are sexually dimorphic methylation profiles for SHH medulloblastoma where survival differences were observed. Sex-specific therapies in medulloblastoma may impact outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1113121
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the American Cancer Society Research Professorship (DAL) and the Children’s Cancer Research Fund (LAW, NS). This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grants TL1R002493 and UL1TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (RMM).

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the American Cancer Society Research Professorship (DAL) and the Children’s Cancer Research Fund (LAW, NS). This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grants TL1R002493 and UL1TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (RMM).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Moss, Sorajja, Mills, Moertel, Hoang, Spector, Largaespada and Williams.

Keywords

  • medulloblastoma
  • methylation
  • pediatric and young adult cancer
  • sex differences
  • survival

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Sex differences in methylation profiles are apparent in medulloblastoma, particularly among SHH tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this