c-IMPACT NOW update 7: Advancing the Molecular Classification of Ependymal Tumors

— Categories:   Posted on August 26, 2020

New scientific information recently published will influence the molecular classification of ependymoma tumors in the near future. This information builds upon our current understanding of ependymoma pathology and previous publications on molecular classification. Much of this data was built upon the foundational work that CERN supported.


Advances in our understanding of the biological basis and molecular characteristics of ependymal tumors since the latest iteration of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of Central Nervous System (CNS) tumors (2016) have prompted the cIMPACT-NOW research consortium to recommend a new system for grouping ependymomas. Methylation and gene expression profiling studies have provided evidence for at least nine molecular subgroups of ependymoma across the three principal anatomic regions of the CNS: supratentorial (ST), posterior fossa (PF) and spinal cord (SC). Separation of ependymal tumors by anatomic site is an important principle of the new classification schema. Read the full abstract here.


The 2016 WHO report was so significant it prompted numerous educational reports and interviews within the brain tumor community. The previous WHO update had been nearly ten years prior, in 2007.  

National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) published a WHO Classification FAQ document that gives a good overview of diagnosing a CNS tumor as well as providing education and frequently asked questions. NBTS also released a video series with Dr. David Louis at Massachusetts General Hospital that helps explain the importance of why we classify tumors and how molecular classification is done. David Arons, Chief Executive Officer of the NBTS, released a statement highlighting the importance of the updates and commented: “New integrated classifications will also improve future research and the development of new treatments by ensuring that patients participating in clinical trials are comparable within and across trials, and patients in clinical trials are correctly stratified based on their molecular signatures with targeted therapies most likely to benefit them.” 

The Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) released a webinar series about understanding molecular characteristics of tumors. This includes a webinar featuring Dr. Louis that explains the cIMPACT NOW group and features a timeline of progress as well as other brain tumor classification updates.


The cIMPACT NOW ependymoma focused group has recently released an update (7) due to important findings that could have an impact on the community in the future. National Brain Tumor Society and the CERN Foundation are hosted an online educational event on the new ependymoma molecular classification updates on Thursday, September 10, 2020. Dr. David Ellison Chair of Pathology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Dr. Mark Gilbert Chief of the Neuro Oncology Branch at the National Institutes of Health were interviewed by Kim Wallgren, Executive Director of the CERN Foundation, a program of the National Brain Tumor Society, to help educate patients and care partners on how molecular classification is done, why it is important to the community, and explaining the recent updates involving ependymoma. 


Stay Informed with the CERN Newsletter

The CERN Foundation is committed to informing you with the latest ependymoma news and research. Join our mailing list for monthly updates. View all newsletters