5-Hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) is a novel epigenetic mark and may be involved in the mechanisms of tumorigenesis and malignant transformation. However, the role of 5hmC in ependymoma, the third most common brain tumor in children, remains unclear. The aim of this study sought to identify the characterization of 5hmC levels in pediatric posterior fossa ependymoma and to evaluate whether 5hmC levels could be a potential factor to predict clinical outcomes.
Our results showed that 5hmC levels were globally decreased in posterior fossa ependymoma compared with normal cerebellum tissues (P < 0.001). Group A posterior fossa ependymomas had higher 5hmC levels than group B tumors (P = 0.007). Moreover, 5hmC levels positively correlated with Ki-67 index in posterior fossa ependymoma (r = 0.428, P = 0.003). Multivariate Cox hazards model revealed that patients with high 5hmC levels (> 0.102%) had worse PFS and OS than patients with lower 5hmC levels (< 0.102%) (PFS: HR = 3.014; 95% CI, 1.040-8.738; P = 0.042; OS: HR = 2.788; 95% CI, 0.974-7.982; P = 0.047).
Our findings suggest that loss of 5hmC is an epigenetic hallmark for pediatric posterior fossa ependymoma. 5hmC levels may represent a potential biomarker to predict prognosis in children with posterior fossa ependymoma.