Pilocytic astrocytomas (PAs) are the most common glioma in children. Whereas many PAs are slow-growing or clinically indolent, others exhibit more aggressive features with tumor recurrence and death. To identify genetic signatures that might predict PA clinical behavior, we did gene expression profiling on 41 primary PAs arising sporadically and in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Whereas no expression signature was found that could discriminate clinically aggressive or recurrent tumors from more indolent cases, PAs arising in patients with NF1 did exhibit a unique gene expression pattern. In addition, we identified a gene expression signature that stratified PAs by location (supratentorial versus infratentorial). Lastly, we also identified a gene expression pattern common to PAs and normal mouse astrocytes and neural stem cells from these distinct brain regions as well as a gene expression pattern shared between PAs and another human glial tumor (ependymonia) arising supratentorially compared with those originating in the posterior fossa. These results suggest that glial tumors share an intrinsic, lineage-specific molecular signature that reflects the brain region in which their nonmalignant predecessors originated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-900
Number of pages11
JournalCancer research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007


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