Object. Medulloblastoma is a malignant cerebellar tumor of childhood and is difficult to cure due to frequent cerebrospinal fluid dissemination. Amplification of the c-myc gene (4%) and messenger (mRNA) overexpression (50%) are known to be adverse prognostic indicators. Because mRNA overexpression cannot be explained by gene amplification alone, mechanisms other than gene amplification are postulated. Molecules on the Wnt signal pathway in primary tumors were examined. Methods. Immunohistochemical and cytogenetic examinations of β- and γ-catenin, c-myc, N-myc, and cyclin D1 in 24 primary medulloblastomas were conducted, and their clinical relevance was evaluated. Cytoplasmic/membranous staining of β- and γ-catenin was detected in 19 (79%) and nine (37%) cases, respectively, and nuclear expression of cyclin D1 and c-myc was detected in six (25%) and 21 (83%) cases, respectively. The expression levels of γ-catenin in Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry were similar. By differential polymerase chain reaction, c-myc and N-myc were amplified separately in two large cell/anaplastic medulloblastomas. No cyclin D1 amplification, or β- or γ-catenin mutations were found. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed no dissemination at diagnosis (Chang Grade M0) and γ-catenin expression was correlated with good prognosis (p = 0.0002 and 0.003, respectively). Expression of γ-catenin was also significant in the M0 group (p = 0.022). Expression of cyclin D1 showed a trend toward adverse outcome (p = 0.057) and all patients in whom cyclin D1 expression was found died of disease. Conclusions. Expression of γ-catenin is of great prognostic value and its immunohistochemistry may be useful for further stratification of treatment. Cyclin D1 expression may have the potential to be an adverse prognostic indicator.
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