Molecular pathways in gliomagenesis and their relevance to neuropathologic diagnosis

Christina L. Appin, Daniel J. Brat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gliomas are a large and diverse group of primary brain tumors that include those that are diffusely infiltrative and others that are well-circumscribed and low grade. Diffuse gliomas are currently classified by the World Health Organization as astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, or oligoastrocytomas and range in grade from II to IV. Glioblastoma (GBM), World Health Organization grade IV, is the highest grade and most common form of astrocytoma. In the past, the diagnosis of gliomas was almost exclusively based on histopathologic features. More recently, improved understanding of molecular genetic underpinnings has led to ancillary molecular studies becoming standard for classification, prognostication, and predicting therapy response. Isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations are frequent in grade II and III infiltrating gliomas and secondary GBMs. Infiltrating astrocytomas and secondary GBMs are characterized by IDH, TP53, and ATRX mutations, whereas oligodendrogliomas demonstrate 1p/19q codeletion and mutations in IDH, CIC, FUBP1, and the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter. Primary GBMs typically lack IDH mutations and are instead characterized by EGFR, PTEN, TP53, PDGFRA, NF1, and CDKN2A/B alterations and TERT promoter mutations. Pediatric GBMs differ from those in adults and frequently have mutations in H3F3A, ATRX, and DAXX, but not IDH. In contrast, circumscribed, low-grade gliomas of childhood, such as pilocytic astrocytoma, pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, and ganglioglioma, often harbor mutations or activating gene rearrangements in BRAF. Neuropathologic assessment of gliomas increasingly relies on ancillary testing of molecular alterations for proper classification and patient management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in anatomic pathology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 12 2015

Keywords

  • 1p/19q
  • Astrocytoma
  • EGFR
  • Glioblastoma
  • Glioma
  • H3F3A
  • IDH
  • Oligodendroglioma
  • TP53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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