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Medulloblastoma (MB), the most common malignant paediatric brain tumour occurs in the cerebellum. Advances in molecular genomics have led to the identification of defined subgroups which are associated with distinct clinical prognoses. Despite this classification, standard therapies for all subgroups often leave children with life-long neurological deficits. New therapeutic approaches are therefore urgently needed to reduce current treatment toxicity and increase survival for patients. GD3 is a well-studied ganglioside which is known to have roles in the development of the cerebellum. Post-partum GD3 is not highly expressed in the brain. In some cancers however GD3 is highly expressed. In MB cells GD3 is largely acetylated to GD3A. GD3 is pro-apoptotic but GD3A can protect cells from apoptosis. Presence of these gangliosides has previously been shown to correlate with resistance to chemotherapy. Here we show that the GD3 acetylation pathway is dysregulated in MB and as a proof-of-principle we show that increased GD3 expression sensitises an MB cell line to etoposide.


Rebecca L Mather, Katie F Loveson, Helen L Fillmore. Human Sialic acid O-acetyl esterase (SIAE) - mediated changes in sensitivity to etoposide in a medulloblastoma cell line. Scientific reports. 2019 Jun 13;9(1):8609

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PMID: 31197190

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