Optic Pathway Gliomas in Neurofibromatosis Type 1.
ABSTRACT: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is one of the most common brain tumor predisposition syndromes, in which affected children are prone to the development of low-grade gliomas. While NF1-associated gliomas can be found in several brain regions, the majority arise in the optic nerves, chiasm, tracts, and radiations (optic pathway gliomas; OPGs). Owing to their location, 35-50% of affected children present with reduced visual acuity. Unfortunately, despite tumor stabilization following chemotherapy, vision does not improve in most children. For this reasons, more effective therapies are being sought that reflect a deeper understanding of the NF1 gene and the use of authenticated Nf1 genetically-engineered mouse strains. The implementation of these models for drug discovery and validation has galvanized molecularly-targeted clinical trials in children with NF1-OPG. Future research focused on defining the cellular and molecular factors that underlie optic glioma development and progression also has the potential to provide personalized risk assessment strategies for this pediatric population.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To determine quantitative size thresholds for enlargement of the optic nerve, chiasm, and tract in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).<h4>Methods</h4>Children 0.5-18.6 years of age who underwent high-resolution T1-weighted MRI were eligible for inclusion. This consisted of children with NF1 with or without optic pathway gliomas (OPGs) and a control group who did not have other acquired, systemic, or genetic conditions that could alter their anterior visual pathway (AVP). Maximum and average diameter and volume of AVP structures were calculated from reconstructed MRI images. Values above the 95th percentile from the controls were considered the threshold for defining an abnormally large AVP measure.<h4>Results</h4>A total of 186 children (controls = 82; NF1noOPG = 54; NF1+OPG = 50) met inclusion criteria. NF1noOPG and NF1+OPG participants demonstrated greater maximum optic nerve diameter and volume, optic chiasm volume, and total brain volume compared to controls (p < 0.05, all comparisons). Total brain volume, rather than age, predicted optic nerve and chiasm volume in controls (p < 0.05). Applying the 95th percentile threshold to all NF1 participants, the maximum optic nerve diameter (3.9 mm) and AVP volumes resulted in few false-positive errors (specificity >80%, all comparisons).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Quantitative reference values for AVP enlargement will enhance the development of objective diagnostic criteria for OPGs secondary to NF1.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To determine whether tumor size is associated with retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness, a measure of axonal degeneration and an established biomarker of visual impairment in children with optic pathway gliomas (OPGs) secondary to neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).<h4>Methods</h4>Children with NF1-OPGs involving the optic nerve (extension into the chiasm and tracts permitted) who underwent both volumetric MRI analysis and optical coherence tomography (OCT) within 2 weeks of each other were included. Volumetric measurement of the entire anterior visual pathway (AVP; optic nerve, chiasm, and tract) was performed using high-resolution T1-weighted MRI. OCT measured the average RNFL thickness around the optic nerve. Linear regression models evaluated the relationship between RNFL thickness and AVP dimensions and volume.<h4>Results</h4>Thirty-eight participants contributed 55 study eyes. The mean age was 5.78 years. Twenty-two participants (58%) were female. RNFL thickness had a significant negative relationship to total AVP volume and total brain volume (p < 0.05, all comparisons). For every 1 mL increase in AVP volume, RNFL thickness declined by approximately 5 microns. A greater AVP volume of OPGs involving the optic nerve and chiasm, but not the tracts, was independently associated with a lower RNFL thickness (p < 0.05). All participants with an optic chiasm volume >1.3 mL demonstrated axonal damage (i.e., RNFL thickness <80 microns).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Greater OPG and AVP volume predicts axonal degeneration, a biomarker of vision loss, in children with NF1-OPGs. MRI volumetric measures may help stratify the risk of visual loss from NF1-OPGs.
Project description:Optic pathway gliomas (OPGs) are present in 20% of children with neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) but are less frequently observed in adults. Our goal was to determine the natural history of OPGs in children and adults with NF1.We analyzed the features of OPGs and other intracranial lesions on 1775 head MRI scans of 562 unselected adults and children with NF1 collected between 2003 and 2015. 52 (9.3%) of 562 patients in this study had an OPG diagnosed on their MRI. The median age at first scan with an OPG present was 12.7 years. Of the 52 OPG patients, the intraorbital optic nerves were affected in 29 patients (56%), the prechiasmatic optic nerves were affected in 32 patients (62%), the optic chiasm was affected in 17 patients (33%) and the optic radiations were affected in 19 patients (37%). 29 patients had two or more areas affected. One patient had a newly-appearing OPG, and 1 patient showed progression. The rate of progression over 5 years was 2.4% (95% CI: 0.4% to 16%). Four patients showed partial regression of their OPGs, but we observed no case of complete regression during this study. The rate of regression over 5 years was 8.9% (95% confidence intervals: 2.8% to 26%). We found the presence of UBOs and the presence of OPGs in individual patients to be highly associated (p?=?0.0061).OPGs are more common in older adults with NF1 than previously thought. The occurrences of unidentified bright objects (UBOs) and asymptomatic OPGs are associated with each other. This suggests the possibility that OPGs that remain asymptomatic may differ pathogenically from those that become symptomatic.
Project description:Approximately 20% of patients with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) develop optic pathway gliomas (OPGs). Not all OPGs in NF1 necessarily become vision compromising and predicting which patients might develop visual decline is difficult at present time. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has emerged as a useful tool able to directly assess the morphology and thickness of individual retinal layers. The ganglion cell layer (GCL) is composed of the retinal ganglion cells which receive information from photoreceptors via interneurons, while the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) contains the retinal ganglion cell unmyelinated axons that merge to form the optic nerve. Lesions of the anterior visual pathway result in retrograde axonal degeneration from ganglion cell death and ultimately manifest as thinning of the RNFL and/or GCL. In this report we highlight a case of a 38 year-old woman with an NF1 associated left chiasmal and optic tract glioma who had normal visual fields and visual acuity. However, using OCT we demonstrate a homonymous pattern of GCL atrophy that corresponds with her left optic tract glioma. Given this homonymous pattern of atrophy in the GCL and the left optic tract lesion, one would expect a right homonymous hemianopia. To our knowledge this is the first reported case of a homonymous pattern of GCL-IPL atrophy in an adult with an NF1 related OPG involving the optic chiasm and optic tract, but without objective visual field or acuity deficits. This case is important because, mechanistically, it suggests that a necessary threshold of GCL atrophy may be needed before visual concerns can be detected and, secondly, it invites future studies to evaluate whether OCT may serve as a potential screening tool for those with NF1 related OPGs.
Project description:Neurons have recently emerged as essential cellular constituents of the tumour microenvironment, and their activity has been shown to increase the growth of a diverse number of solid tumours<sup>1</sup>. Although the role of neurons in tumour progression has previously been demonstrated<sup>2</sup>, the importance of neuronal activity to tumour initiation is less clear-particularly in the setting of cancer predisposition syndromes. Fifteen per cent of individuals with the neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) cancer predisposition syndrome (in which tumours arise in close association with nerves) develop low-grade neoplasms of the optic pathway (known as optic pathway gliomas (OPGs)) during early childhood<sup>3,4</sup>, raising the possibility that postnatal light-induced activity of the optic nerve drives tumour initiation. Here we use an authenticated mouse model of OPG driven by mutations in the neurofibromatosis 1 tumour suppressor gene (Nf1)<sup>5</sup> to demonstrate that stimulation of optic nerve activity increases optic glioma growth, and that decreasing visual experience via light deprivation prevents tumour formation and maintenance. We show that the initiation of Nf1-driven OPGs (Nf1-OPGs) depends on visual experience during a developmental period in which Nf1-mutant mice are susceptible to tumorigenesis. Germline Nf1 mutation in retinal neurons results in aberrantly increased shedding of neuroligin 3 (NLGN3) within the optic nerve in response to retinal neuronal activity. Moreover, genetic Nlgn3 loss or pharmacological inhibition of NLGN3 shedding blocks the formation and progression of Nf1-OPGs. Collectively, our studies establish an obligate role for neuronal activity in the development of some types of brain tumours, elucidate a therapeutic strategy to reduce OPG incidence or mitigate tumour progression, and underscore the role of Nf1mutation-mediated dysregulation of neuronal signalling pathways in mouse models of the NF1 cancer predisposition syndrome.
Project description:Optic pathway gliomas (OPGs) occur in 15%-20% of children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1); up to half become symptomatic. There is little information regarding ophthalmologic outcomes after chemotherapy. A retrospective multicenter study was undertaken to evaluate visual outcomes following chemotherapy for NF1-associated OPG, to identify risks for visual loss, and to ascertain indications for treatment. Subjects included children undergoing initial treatment for OPGs with chemotherapy between January 1997 and December 2007. Of 115 subjects, visual acuity (VA) decline and tumor progression were the primary reasons to initiate treatment, although there were significant differences in the pattern of indications cited among the institutions. Eighty-eight subjects and 168 eyes were evaluable for VA outcome. At completion of chemotherapy, VA improved (32% of subjects), remained stable (40%), or declined (28%). Tumor location was the most consistent prognostic factor for poor VA outcome. There was poor correlation between radiographic and VA outcomes. Although visual outcomes for NF1-associated OPG are not optimal, approximately one-third of children regain some vision with treatment. Since radiographic outcomes do not predict visual outcomes, their use as the primary measure of treatment success is in question. The lack of consensus regarding the indications for treatment underlines the need for better standardization of care. Future clinical trials for OPG require standardized visual assessment methods and clear definitions of visual outcomes.
Project description:Low-grade gliomas are one of the most common brain tumors in children, where they frequently form within the optic pathway (optic pathway gliomas; OPGs). Since many OPGs occur in the context of the Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) cancer predisposition syndrome, we have previously employed Nf1 genetically-engineered mouse (GEM) strains to study the pathogenesis of these low-grade glial neoplasms. In the light of the finding that human and mouse low-grade gliomas are composed of Olig2+ cells and that Olig2+ oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) give rise to murine high-grade gliomas, we sought to determine whether Olig2+ OPCs could be tumor-initiating cells for Nf1 optic glioma. Similar to the GFAP-Cre transgenic strain previously employed to generate Nf1 optic gliomas, Olig2+ cells also give rise to astrocytes in the murine optic nerve in vivo. However, in contrast to the GFAP-Cre strain where somatic Nf1 inactivation in embryonic neural progenitor/stem cells (Nf1flox/mut; GFAP-Cre mice) results in optic gliomas by 3 months of age in vivo, mice with Nf1 gene inactivation in Olig2+ OPCs (Nf1flox/mut; Olig2-Cre mice) do not form optic gliomas until 6 months of age. These distinct patterns of glioma latency do not reflect differences in the timing or brain location of somatic Nf1 loss. Instead, they most likely reflect the cell of origin, as somatic Nf1 loss in CD133+ neural progenitor/stem cells during late embryogenesis results in optic gliomas at 3 months of age. Collectively, these data demonstrate that the cell of origin dictates the time to tumorigenesis in murine optic glioma.
Project description:Individuals with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) are strongly predisposed to developing pediatric brain tumors (PBTs), especially optic pathway gliomas (OPGs). Although developmental factors have been implicated in the origins of PBTs in both human and animal studies, associations between early-life factors and PBTs have not been evaluated in individuals with NF1. Our objective was to evaluate associations between peri-gestational characteristics and PBTs in this population.We conducted a cross-sectional study, ascertaining questionnaire and medical record data for 606 individuals<18years old who enrolled in the NF1 Patient Registry Initiative (NPRI) from 6/9/2011-6/29/2015. One hundred eighty-four individuals had reported PBT diagnoses, including 65 who were identified with OPG diagnoses. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between PBT and OPG diagnoses and peri-gestational characteristics (prematurity, birth weight, parental age, plurality, family history of NF1, assisted reproductive technology, maternal vitamin supplementation, and parental smoking).We observed no significant associations between any of the assessed characteristics and PBTs overall or OPGs with the exception of birth weight. After controlling for potential confounding variables, we observed a significant positive association between birth weight quartile and OPGs with a HR of 3.32 (95% CI 1.39-7.94) for the fourth (?3915.5g) compared to the first (?3020g) quartile (p for trend=0.001).Consistent with results for PBTs in the general population, these results suggest that higher birth weights increase OPG risk in individuals with NF1.
Project description:Background:Pediatric neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1)-associated optic pathway gliomas (OPGs) exhibit different clinico-radiological features, treatment, and outcome compared with sporadic OPGs. While NF1-associated OPGs are caused by complete loss-of-function of the NF1 gene, other genetic alterations of the RAS-MAPK pathway are frequently described in the sporadic cases. We identified a group of patients who presented OPGs with typical radiological features of NF1-associated OPGs but without the NF1 diagnostic criteria. We aim to investigate into the possible molecular mechanisms underlying this "NF1-like" pediatric OPGs presentation. Methods:We analyzed clinico-radiological features of 16 children with NF1-like OPGs and without NF1 diagnostic criteria. We performed targeted sequencing of the NF1 gene in constitutional samples (n?=?16). The RAS-MAPK pathway major genes were sequenced in OPG tumor samples (n?=?11); BRAF FISH and IHC analyses were also performed. Results:In one patient's blood and tumor samples, we identified a NF1 nonsense mutation (exon 50: c.7285C>T, p.Arg2429*) with ~8% and ~70% VAFs, respectively, suggesting a mosaic NF1 mutation limited to the brain (segmental NF1). This patient presented signs of neurodevelopmental disorder. We identified a somatic alteration of the RAS-MAPK pathway in eight tumors: four BRAF activating p.Val600Glu mutations, three BRAF:KIAA oncogenic fusions, and one putative gain-of-function complex KRAS indel inframe mutation. Conclusions:NF1-like OPGs can rarely be associated with mosaic NF1 that needs specific constitutional DNA analyses for diagnosis. Further studies are warranted to explore unknown predisposition condition leading to the NF1-like OPG presentation, particularly in patients with the association of a neurodevelopmental disorder.
Project description:The occurrence of optic pathway gliomas (OPGs) in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) still raises many questions regarding screening and surveillance because of the lack of robust prognostic factors. Recent studies of an overall cohort of 381 patients have suggested that the genotype may be the main determinant of the development of OPG, with the risk being higher in patients harbouring NF1 mutations in the 5' tertile and the cysteine/serine-rich domain. In an attempt to confirm this hypothesis, we used strict criteria to select a large independent cohort of 309 NF1 patients with defined constitutional NF1 mutations and appropriate brain images (255 directly enrolled and 54 as a result of a literature search). One hundred and thirty-two patients had OPG and 177 did not. The association of the position (tertiles and functional domains) and type of NF1 mutation with the development of OPG was analysed using the ?2 test and Fisher's exact probability test; odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals were calculated, and Bonferroni's correction for multiple comparisons was applied; multiple logistic regression was also used to study genotype-phenotype associations further. Our findings show no significant correlation between the site/type of NF1 mutation and the risk of OPG, and thus do not support the hypothesis that certain constitutional mutations provide prognostic information in this regard. In addition, we combined our cohort with a previously described cohort of 381 patients for a total of 690 patients and statistically re-analysed the results. The re-analysis confirmed that there were no correlations between the site (tertile and domain) and the risk of OPG, thus further strengthening our conclusions.