The discovery of increasing numbers of gene mutations that have evolved into useful diagnostic biomarkers of CNS tumours has transformed the diagnostic approach and has contributed to more accurate classification of brain tumours. Many of these biomarkers are genetic alterations, such as point mutations, gene fusions, or chromosomal gains and losses. Yet a potentially even more transformational approach to clinically relevant classification of brain tumours may come from a readout of tumours’ epigenetic signatures, resulting in distinct profiles based on DNA methylation patterns.

This one-day workshop will provide a multifaceted view of epigenetic profiling in adult and paediatric brain tumour diagnostics. The workshop will convey the biological principles of epigenetics in health and disease with a focus on brain tumours and explain how methylation profiles are detected with current array technologies. The application of machine learning and the development of algorithms used for the classification of brain tumours will be presented. The introduction of methylation profiling and algorithmic classification into CNS tumour diagnostics in the UK will be complemented with examples how such approach can be applied to improve precision in paediatric and adult CNS tumour diagnostics. Also the limitations and pitfalls of this technology will be addressed.

Multidisciplinary approaches incorporating clinical - radiological – pathological correlations are essential for effective clinical management of patients with CNS tumours, and the clinical value of these diagnostic tests will be discussed in the workshop.

The workshop will be supplemented with interactive practical session where participants will have the opportunity to discuss the diagnostic approach to challenging adult and paediatric CNS tumour cases. These cases will be available to view in a digital format prior the workshop for registered participants and during the workshop.


Friday 3rd May 2019


08.45     Registration & refreshments


09:20     Welcome – Professor Sebastian Brandner, UCL

09:30     What is epigenetics – Professor Stefan Beck, UCL

10:10     DKFZ brain tumour methylation classifier – Professor David Capper, Charite, Berlin, Germany

10:40     Newcastle methylation classifier (paediatric tumours) – Professor Steve Clifford, Newcastle


11:10     Refreshments  


11:30     Integrated diagnostics using methylation arrays and expression profiling – Professor Thomas Jacques, UCL

12:00     UK experience with methylation arrays for paediatric brain tumours – Dr Jessica Pickles, UCL

12:30     UK experience with methylation arrays for adult brain tumours – Dr Zane Jaunmuktane, UCL


13:00     Lunch   


14:00     Clinical value. How do methylation classifier results change the clinical management – Dr Darren Hargrave, GOSH

14:30     Pathology radiology correlation. How do the integrated pathology diagnoses influence the radiological interpretation – Dr Steffi Thust, UCLH


15:00     Refreshments


15:20     Case examples, with digital pathology available beforehand: 3 paediatric and 3 adult – Professor Sebastian Brandner, Dr Zane Jaunmuktane, Dr Tom Jacques, Professor David Capper


17:00     Concluding remarks – Sebastian Brandner

Registration Fees

Online rates

Fellows: £198.00

Concessions: £106.00

Non RCPath Members: £275.00


Offline rates (payments via cheque/invoice or on the day payments

Fellows: £233  

Concessions: £139

Non-members; £306


To be held at the Royal College of Pathologists, 6 Alie Street, London E1 8QT.



MBT- 19

  • Professor David Capper

    David Capper is a professor of molecular neuropathology at the Charité Berlin and a group leader of the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), partner site Berlin of the German cancer research center (DKFZ). He studied medicine in Tubingen and for a short period in Bristol and did his medical specialty training as a neuropathologist in Tübingen, Zurich and Heidelberg. During his postdoctoral training, he worked at the University Hospital Heidelberg and at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. In 2017, he founded his own research group at the Charité focusing on brain tumor classification and cancer epigenetics.

  • Professor Steve Clifford

    Professor Steve Clifford is Director of the Northern Institute of Cancer Research (NICR) at Newcastle University.  He graduated with First Class Honours in Applied Biology (Cardiff University) and a PhD in Cancer Molecular Biology (Newcastle University) in the early ‘90s.  Following post-docs at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, he was appointed to a tenured Lectureship at Newcastle University in 2000, and as Professor of Molecular Paediatric Oncology in 2009. Prof. Clifford directs the NICR’s paediatric brain tumour research programme (25 scientists/clinicians), with major interests in understanding the biological basis of embryonal brain tumour development (principally medulloblastoma, ATRT and other embryonal tumours), and translating these findings into improved clinical treatments.  He plays leading roles in national (CCLG, NCRI) and international (SIOP-Europe) research networks and clinical trials in medulloblastoma, and directs the UK national reference centre for medulloblastoma molecular diagnostics and pathology review. His research is supported by five-year programme grants from Cancer Research UK (Biomarker-driven therapies for medulloblastoma, £1.8M), The Brain Tumour Charity/Children with Cancer UK/Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity (INSTINCT:  The ICR-Newcastle University-UCL high-risk childhood brain tumour network, £3.9M) and NECCR (Infrastructure funding for paediatric oncology research in Newcastle, £1.2M), and he has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers. In teaching, he leads under-graduate modules in Cancer at Newcastle University, supervises (>20 to date) and regularly examines MD and PhD candidates. Prof. Clifford sits on advisory panels for Cancer Research UK, the French National Cancer Institute (INCa), Children with Cancer UK and The Neuroblastoma Society, and also helps run an outreach programme for children’s cancer care in Malawi, Africa.