Ohta T, Kim YH, Oh JE, Satomi K, Nonoguchi N, Keyvani K, Pierscianek D, Sure U, Mittelbronn M, Paulus W, Vital A, Yokoo H, McDonald K, Kleihues P, Nazaret N, Barbet F, Lachuer J, Ohgaki H
Gemistocytic astrocytoma (World Health Organization grade II) is a rare variant of diffuse astrocytoma that is characterized by the presence of neoplastic gemistocytes and has a significantly less favorable prognosis. Other than frequent TP53 mutations (>80%), little is known about its molecular profile. Here, we show that gemistocytic astrocytomas carry a lower frequency of IDH mutations than fibrillary astrocytomas (74% vs 92%; p = 0.0255) but have profiles similar to those of fibrillary astrocytomas with respect to TERT promoter mutations (5% vs 0%), 1p/19q loss (10% vs 8%), and loss of heterozygosity 10q (10% vs 12%). Exome sequencing in 5 gemistocytic astrocytomas revealed homozygous deletion of genes at 19q13 (i.e. RRAS [related RAS viral oncogene homolog; 2 cases] and ERCC1 [excision repair cross-complementing rodent repair deficiency, complementation group 1; 1 case]). Further screening showed RRAS homozygous deletion in 7 of 42 (17%) gemistocytic astrocytomas and in 3 of 24 (13%) IDH1 mutated secondary glioblastomas. Patients with gemistocytic astrocytoma and secondary glioblastoma with an RRAS deletion tended to have shorter survival rates than those without deletion. Differential polymerase chain reaction and methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction revealed an ERCC1 homozygous deletion or promoter methylation in 10 of 42 (24%) gemistocytic astrocytomas and in 8 of 24 (33%) secondary glioblastomas. Alterations in RRAS and ERCC1 appear to be typical in gemistocytic astrocytomas and secondary glioblastomas, since they were not present in 49 fibrillary astrocytomas or 30 primary glioblastomas.