Molecular pathology of tumors of the central nervous system

B. W. Kristensen, L. P. Priesterbach-Ackley, J. K. Petersen, P. Wesseling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Since the update of the 4th edition of the WHO Classification of Central Nervous System (CNS) Tumors published in 2016, particular molecular characteristics are part of the definition of a subset of these neoplasms. This combined 'histo-molecular' approach allows for a much more precise diagnosis of especially diffuse gliomas and embryonal CNS tumors. This review provides an update of the most important diagnostic and prognostic markers for state-of-the-art diagnosis of primary CNS tumors. Defining molecular markers for diffuse gliomas are IDH1/IDH2 mutations, 1p/19q codeletion and mutations in histone H3 genes. Medulloblastomas, the most frequent embryonal CNS tumors, are divided into four molecularly defined groups according to the WHO 2016 Classification: wingless/integrated (WNT) signaling pathway activated, sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway activated and tumor protein p53 gene (TP53)-mutant, SHH-activated and TP53-wildtype, and non-WNT/non-SHH-activated. Molecular characteristics are also important for the diagnosis of several other CNS tumors, such as RELA fusion-positive subtype of ependymoma, atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT), embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes, and solitary fibrous tumor/hemangiopericytoma. Immunohistochemistry is a helpful alternative for further molecular characterization of several of these tumors. Additionally, genome-wide methylation profiling is a very promising new tool in CNS tumor diagnostics. Much progress has thus been made by translating the most relevant molecular knowledge into a more precise clinical diagnosis of CNS tumors. Hopefully, this will enable more specific and more effective therapeutic approaches for the patients suffering from these tumors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1265-1278
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Volume30
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

Cite this

Kristensen, B. W., Priesterbach-Ackley, L. P., Petersen, J. K., & Wesseling, P. (2019). Molecular pathology of tumors of the central nervous system. Annals of Oncology, 30(8), 1265-1278. https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdz164