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Author Notes:

Nathalie Y. R. Agar Nathalie_Agar@dfci.harvard.edu; Soma Sengupta soma.sengupta@emory.edu

We thank Frank Tranghese, Jessica Pierre Francois, and Tenley Archer of the Pomeroy lab for retrieving some archived medulloblastoma specimens from Dr. Pomeroy’s laboratory. ARC thanks E. C. Randall and B. Gimenez-Cassina Lopez for helpful feedback and discussion of the manuscript

All authors declare they have no conflict of interest with the present study.


Research Funding:

The project was supported by funding awarded to SS from NIH/NINDS (K08 NS083626), American Cancer Society IRG (RG-14- 188-01), and B*CURED Foundation. Support was also provided from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Pediatric Low Grade Astrocytoma Program to NYRA. ARC is in receipt of funding from the Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science Therapeutics Graduate Program (T32 GM 7306-42).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Pineoblastoma
  • Mass spectrometry imaging
  • Biomarkers
  • Lipids
  • Brain tumors
  • ACID

Rapid discrimination of pediatric brain tumors by mass spectrometry imaging

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Journal Title:

Journal of Neuro-Oncology


Volume 140, Number 2


, Pages 269-279

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Purpose: Medulloblastoma, the most common primary pediatric malignant brain tumor, originates in the posterior fossa of the brain. Pineoblastoma, which originates within the pineal gland, is a rarer malignancy that also presents in the pediatric population. Medulloblastoma and pineoblastoma exhibit overlapping clinical features and have similar histopathological characteristics. Histopathological similarities confound rapid diagnoses of these two tumor types. We have conducted a pilot feasibility study analyzing the molecular profile of archived frozen human tumor specimens using mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) to identify potential biomarkers capable of classifying and distinguishing between medulloblastoma and pineoblastoma. Methods: We performed matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry imaging on eight medulloblastoma biopsy specimens and three pineoblastoma biopsy specimens. Multivariate statistical analyses were performed on the MSI dataset to generate classifiers that distinguish the two tumor types. Lastly, the molecules that were discriminative of tumor type were queried against the Lipid Maps database and identified. Results: In this pilot study we show that medulloblastoma and pineoblastoma can be discriminated using molecular profiles determined by MSI. The highest-ranking discriminating classifiers of medulloblastoma and pineoblastoma were glycerophosphoglycerols and sphingolipids, respectively. Conclusion: We demonstrate proof-of-concept that medulloblastoma and pineoblastoma can be rapidly distinguished by using MSI lipid profiles. We identified biomarker candidates capable of distinguishing these two histopathologically similar tumor types. This work expands the current molecular knowledge of medulloblastoma and pineoblastoma by characterizing their lipidomic profiles, which may be useful for developing novel diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic strategies.

Copyright information:

© 2018, The Author(s).

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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