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Medulloblastoma is the most common childhood cancer in the brain. Despite recent advances in therapeutic outcomes the survival rate of medulloblastoma patients is reaching plateau levels. Based on gene expression analysis, medulloblastomas are divided into four subgroups, the SHH (Sonic Hedgehog), WNT (Wingless), Group 3, and Group 4.

To improve the current levels of survival, a better understanding of the biology of medulloblastoma development is likely to be needed. In this direction of a more comprehensive biological understanding is the current appreciation of the role of a novel class of RNA molecules, circular RNAs, for an increasing number of cancers, e.g. hepatocellular carcinoma, prostate and breast cancer. It is therefore hypothesized that circular RNAs will also have a functional role in medulloblastoma and may even be used as biomarkers and therapeutic targets for this disease.

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What are the goals of this project?

The goals of this project are to identify the circular RNA transcriptome of medulloblastoma tumors of the SHH subgroup and compare it with that of normal cerebellum and to functionally analyze circular RNAs that are differentially expressed in SHH medulloblastoma versus normal cerebellum and to generate RNAseq data for circular RNAs in medulloblastomas of the SHH subtype

What is the impact of this project?

This project will generate the largest open-access dataset of circular RNAs in SHH medulloblastoma Recent evidence suggests that circular RNA expression has a functional role for an increasing number of cancers. However, almost nothing is known on how RNA circles are expressed in the cerebellar tumor of medulloblastoma. This project aims to provide clarity in this direction, stating with the analysis of the SHH subgroup. It is anticipated that circular RNAs will not only functionally impact medulloblastoma development but could also be exploited as biomarkers and therapeutic targets for this disease.

Why the CBTN request is important to this project?

This is the largest collection of specimens for medulloblastoma pediatric tumors. We are requesting medulloblastoma RNA samples from CBTN as this consortium represents the largest collection of brain tumor material that we are aware. Consequently, the CBTTC request is essential in order to be able to make robust claims on the circular RNA transcriptome of the SHH subgroup of medulloblastoma.

Specimen Data

The Children's Brain Tumor Network contributed to this project by providing tumor RNA samples.