Convergent evolution and multi-wave clonal invasion in H3 K27-altered diffuse midline gliomas treated with a PDGFR inhibitor

Sasi Arunachalam, Karol Szlachta, Samuel W. Brady, Xiaotu Ma, Bensheng Ju, Bridget Shaner, Heather L. Mulder, John Easton, Benjamin J. Raphael, Matthew Myers, Christopher Tinkle, Sariah J. Allen, Brent A. Orr, Cynthia J. Wetmore, Suzanne J. Baker, Jinghui Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The majority of diffuse midline gliomas, H3 K27-altered (DMG-H3 K27-a), are infiltrating pediatric brain tumors that arise in the pons with no effective treatment. To understand how clonal evolution contributes to the tumor’s invasive spread, we performed exome sequencing and SNP array profiling on 49 multi-region autopsy samples from 11 patients with pontine DMG-H3 K27-a enrolled in a phase I clinical trial of PDGFR inhibitor crenolanib. For each patient, a phylogenetic tree was constructed by testing multiple possible clonal evolution models to select the one consistent with somatic mutations and copy number variations across all tumor regions. The tree was then used to deconvolute subclonal composition and prevalence at each tumor region to study convergent evolution and invasion patterns. Somatic variants in the PI3K pathway, a late event, are enriched in our cohort, affecting 70% of patients. Convergent evolution of PI3K at distinct phylogenetic branches was detected in 40% of the patients. 24 (~ 50%) of tumor regions were occupied by subclones of mixed lineages with varying molecular ages, indicating multiple waves of invasion across the pons and extrapontine. Subclones harboring a PDGFRA amplicon, including one that amplified a PDGRFAY849C mutant allele, were detected in four patients; their presence in extrapontine tumor and normal brain samples imply their involvement in extrapontine invasion. Our study expands the current knowledge on tumor invasion patterns in DMG-H3 K27-a, which may inform the design of future clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number80
JournalActa neuropathologica communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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