Detection of Histone H3 mutations in cerebrospinal fluid-derived tumor DNA from children with diffuse midline glioma

Tina Y. Huang, Andrea Piunti, Rishi R. Lulla, Jin Qi, Craig M. Horbinski, Tadanori Tomita, C. David James, Ali Shilatifard, Amanda M. Saratsis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Diffuse midline gliomas (including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, DIPG) are highly morbid glial neoplasms of the thalamus or brainstem that typically arise in young children and are not surgically resectable. These tumors are characterized by a high rate of histone H3 mutation, resulting in replacement of lysine 27 with methionine (K27M) in genes encoding H3 variants H3.3 (H3F3A) and H3.1 (HIST1H3B). Detection of these gain-of-function mutations has clinical utility, as they are associated with distinct tumor biology and clinical outcomes. Given the paucity of tumor tissue available for molecular analysis and relative morbidity of midline tumor biopsy, CSF-derived tumor DNA from patients with diffuse midline glioma may serve as a viable alternative for clinical detection of histone H3 mutation. We demonstrate the feasibility of two strategies to detect H3 mutations in CSF-derived tumor DNA from children with brain tumors (n = 11) via either targeted Sanger sequencing of H3F3A and HIST1H3B, or H3F3A c.83 A > T detection via nested PCR with mutation-specific primers. Of the six CSF specimens from children with diffuse midline glioma in our cohort, tumor DNA sufficient in quantity and quality for analysis was isolated from five (83%), with H3.3K27M detected in four (66.7%). In addition, H3.3G34V was identified in tumor DNA from a patient with supratentorial glioblastoma. Test sensitivity (87.5%) and specificity (100%) was validated via immunohistochemical staining and Sanger sequencing in available matched tumor tissue specimens (n = 8). Our results indicate that histone H3 gene mutation is detectable in CSF-derived tumor DNA from children with brain tumors, including diffuse midline glioma, and suggest the feasibility of "liquid biopsy" in lieu of, or to complement, tissue diagnosis, which may prove valuable for stratification to targeted therapies and monitoring treatment response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28
Number of pages1
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 17 2017


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)
  • Diffuse midline glioma
  • H3K27M
  • Liquid biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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