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Epigenetic dysregulation in meningiomas



Meningiomas are the most common primary brain tumor. Though typically benign with a low mutational burden, tumors with benign histology may behave aggressively and there are no proven chemotherapies. Although DNA methylation patterns distinguish subgroups of meningiomas and have higher predictive value for tumor behavior than histologic classification, little is known about differences in DNA methylation between meningiomas and surrounding normal dura tissue.


Whole-exome sequencing and methylation array profiling were performed on 12 dura/meningioma pairs (11 WHO grade I and 1 WHO grade II). Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping and methylation array profiling were performed on an additional 19 meningiomas (9 WHO grade I, 5 WHO grade II, 4 WHO grade III).


Using multimodal studies of meningioma/dura pairs, we identified 4 distinct DNA methylation patterns. Diffuse DNA hypomethylation of malignant meningiomas readily facilitated their identification from lower-grade tumors by unsupervised clustering. All clusters and 12/12 meningioma-dura pairs exhibited hypomethylation of the gene promoters of a module associated with the craniofacial patterning transcription factor FOXC1 and its upstream lncRNA FOXCUT. Furthermore, we identified an epigenetic continuum of increasing hypermethylation of polycomb repressive complex target promoters with increasing histopathologic grade.


These findings support future investigations of the role of epigenetic dysregulation of FOXC1 and cranial patterning genes in meningioma formation as well as studies of the utility of polycomb inhibitors for the treatment of malignant meningiomas.

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