Gene expression profiling of Group 3 medulloblastomas defines a clinically tractable stratification based on KIRREL2 expression

Andrey Korshunov, Konstantin Okonechnikov, Damian Stichel, Daniel Schrimpf, Alberto Delaidelli, Svenja Tonn, Martin Mynarek, Philipp Sievers, Felix Sahm, David T.W. Jones, Andreas von Deimling, Stefan M. Pfister, Marcel Kool

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Medulloblastomas (MB) molecularly designated as Group 3 (Grp 3) MB represent a more clinically aggressive tumor variant which, as a group, displays heterogeneous molecular characteristics and disease outcomes. Reliable risk stratification of Grp 3 MB would allow for appropriate assignment of patients to aggressive treatment protocols and, vice versa, for sparing adverse effects of high-dose radio-chemotherapy in patients with standard or low-risk tumors. Here we performed RNA-based analysis on an international cohort of 179 molecularly designated Grp 3 MB treated with HIT protocols. We analyzed the clinical significance of differentially expressed genes, thereby developing optimal prognostic subdivision of this MB molecular group. We compared the transcriptome profiles of two Grp 3 MB subsets with various outcomes (76 died within the first 60 months vs. 103 survived this period) and identified 224 differentially expressed genes (DEG) between these two clinical groups (Limma R algorithm, adjusted p-value < 0.05). We selected the top six DEG overexpressed in the unfavorable cohort for further survival analysis and found that expression of all six genes strongly correlated with poor outcomes. However, only high expression of KIRREL2 was identified as an independent molecular prognostic indicator of poor patients’ survival. Based on clinical and molecular patterns, four risk categories were outlined for Grp 3 MB patients: i. low-risk: M0-1/MYC non-amplified/KIRREL2 low (n = 48; 5-year OS—95%); ii. standard-risk: M0-1/MYC non-amplified/KIRREL2 high or M2-3/MYC non-amplified/KIRREL2 low (n = 65; 5-year OS—70%); iii. high-risk: M2-3/MYC non-amplified/KIRREL2 high (n = 36; 5-year OS—30%); iv. very high risk—all MYC amplified tumors (n = 30; 5-year OS—0%). Cross-validated survival models incorporating KIRREL2 expression with clinical features allowed for the reclassification of up to 50% of Grp 3 MB patients into a more appropriate risk category. Finally, KIRREL2 immunopositivity was also identified as a predictive indicator of Grp 3 MB poor survival, thus suggesting its application as a possible prognostic marker in routine clinical settings. Our results indicate that integration of KIRREL2 expression in risk stratification models may improve Grp 3 MB outcome prediction. Therefore, simple gene and/or protein expression analyses for this molecular marker could be easily adopted for Grp 3 MB prognostication and may help in assigning patients to optimal therapeutic approaches in prospective clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-352
Number of pages14
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Expression
  • Group 3
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Prognosis


Dive into the research topics of 'Gene expression profiling of Group 3 medulloblastomas defines a clinically tractable stratification based on KIRREL2 expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this