Differential Expression of SOX4 and SOX11 in Medulloblastoma
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- Lee, CJ., Appleby, V.J., Orme, A.T. et al. J Neurooncol (2002) 57: 201. doi:10.1023/A:1015773818302
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Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs) are composed of immature neuronal precursor cells and sometimes more mature neuronal cell types. Medulloblastomas, occuring in the cerebellum, represent the most common PNET and are broadly classified into two subgroups: classical and desmoplastic. Desmoplastic medulloblastomas exhibit a slightly better prognosis than classical medulloblastomas. However, there are currently no good molecular markers available to distinguish clinical outcome and similar treatment is used for most patients with associated complications. It has been shown that neoplastic cells in these tumors recapitulate stages in maturation of normal human neuroblasts; therefore, embryological studies of the earliest events in the development of the cerebellum may provide useful information about the molecular behavior of the tumor. Transcription factors such as Sox proteins involved in neural development may also play a role in the etiology of brain tumors. Sox4 in particular has been implicated in the biology of several other types of cancer. We have studied the expression of Sox4, and the closely related Sox11 gene, in medulloblastomas. Sox4 and Sox11 were strongly expressed in most classical medulloblastomas but only weakly in desmoplastic medulloblastomas. The expression profile of these two genes in developing cerebellum was also analyzed. Our results suggest that strong Sox4 and Sox11 expression in classical medulloblastomas reflects their maturation-dependent expression during normal cerebellum development, and that they may therefore provide markers to divide tumors into clinically relevant subgroups.