Neuroblastoma is one of the most common solid tumours of early childhood usually found in babies or young children. The disease originates in the adrenal medulla or other sites of sympathetic nervous tissue. The most common site is the abdomen (near the adrenal gland) but can also be found in the chest, neck, pelvis, or other sites. Most patients have widespread disease at diagnosis.
This page contains links to information specifically related to Neuroblastoma, other relevant resources are availible via the Main Menu of Children's Cancer Web.
CNCF CNCF is a non-profit national organization committed to finding a cure for neuroblastoma through research, education, awareness and advocacy. Founded in 2000 by parents. The site includes news, details of events information for newly diagnosed, in-treatment and post-treatment.
Neuroblastoma Alliance UK A charity which helps children and families affected by neuroblastoma in the UK by providing financial assistance for children's clinical treatment; supporting families affected by the disease and raise money to fund neuroblastoma research.
NANT A group of institutions throughout North America, committed to working together on clinical trials of novel approaches to treating high-risk neuroblastoma. The Website includes information about neuroblastoma and about the NANT clinical trials.
The Neuroblastoma Society The Neuroblastoma Society is a charity, formed in 1982, which raises funds for medical research into improving both diagnosis and treatment of the disease. The Society also offers an opportunity for parents to give each other mutual help, support and comfort.
PubMed Central search for free-access publications about Neuroblastoma MeSH term: Neuroblastoma US National Library of Medicine PubMed has over 22 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Constantly updated.
Advances in Neuroblastoma Research An international conference held every 2 years, alternating between Europe and the USA. These meetings provide for an exchange of information among investigators studying neuroblastoma biology, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.
NANT A group of institutions throughout North America, committed to working together on clinical trials of novel approaches to treating high-risk neuroblastoma. The Website includes information about neuroblastoma and about the NANT clinical trials.
SIOP International Society of Paediatric Oncology European Neuroblastoma Research Network. This aims to optimise the use of European pre-existing infrastructures in the individual countries and to improve their consistency and complementarity on a European level. The pooling of data will contribute to harmonised standard procedures and integrate the research efforts to reach a critical mass.
SEER, National Cancer Institute Part of a SEER report on statistical trends and risk factors associated with childhood cancers. From: Cancer Incidence and Survival Among Children and Adolescents: United States SEER Program 1975-1995. (PDF)
This list of publications is regularly updated (Source: PubMed).
Weyl Ben-Arush M, Ben Barak A, Bar-Deroma R, et al. Targeted therapy with low doses of 131I-MIBG is effective for disease palliation in highly refractory neuroblastoma. Isr Med Assoc J. 2013; 15(1):31-4 [PubMed]
BACKGROUND: Palliative treatment ore remains a significant clinical problem. OBJECTIVES: To retrospectively determine the clinical response to 131I-MIBG therapy at low doses in patients with refractory neuroblastoma. METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of 10 patients with neuroblastoma treated with 1311-MIBG at Rambam Health Care Campus from 1994 to 2012. Clinical data, number of 131I-MIBG courses delivered, toxicities, and clinical responses were reviewed. MIBG scan was performed after each course. RESULTS: Twenty-one courses of 131I-MIBG were delivered to 10 patients (3 girls, 7 boys). Their mean age was 3.8 years (range 1.5-6 years). All patients received several protocols of chemotherapy including the high dose form. Three patients received three courses of 131I-MIBG with a minimum of 6 weeks between each course, five patients received two courses, and two patients received only one course. An objective response to the first course was obtained in nine patients and to the second course in six of eight, and in three children who underwent the third course the pain decreased. One patient has no evidence of disease, four are alive with disease, and five died of the disease. No unanticipated toxicities were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Low dose 131I-MIBG is an effective and relatively non-toxic treatment in neuroblastoma disease palliation. Rapid and reproducible pain relief with 131I-MIBG was obtained in most of the children. Treatment with systemic radiotherapy in the form of low dose 131I-MIBG was easy to perform and effective in cases of disseminated neuroblastoma, demonstrating that this primary therapy can be used for palliative purposes.
Mueller S, Bhargava S, Molinaro AM, et al. Poly (ADP-Ribose) polymerase inhibitor MK-4827 together with radiation as a novel therapy for metastatic neuroblastoma. Anticancer Res. 2013; 33(3):755-62 [PubMed]
BACKGROUND/AIM: To assess poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor MK-4827 together with radiation for the treatment of neuroblastoma. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Clonogenic survival assays were used to assess MK-4827, radiation and combination thereof in four neuroblastoma cell lines. In vivo efficacy was tested in a murine xenograft model of metastatic neuroblastoma. In vivo targeted inhibition and biological effects included measurement of cleaved caspase-3, γ-H2AX, and Ki 67 by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and poly-ADP-ribose by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay. RESULTS: Treatment of neuroblastoma cell lines reduced clonogenicity and resulted in additive effects with radiation. In vivo treatment with MK-4827 and radiation prolonged survival (p<0.01) compared to single modalities. In vivo superiority of MK-4827 plus radiation was further documented by significant elevations of cleaved caspase-3 and γ-H2AX in tumors from the combination group compared to single modality cohorts. CONCLUSION: Combination of MK-4827 and radiation might provide effective therapy for children with high-risk neuroblastoma.
Krosch TC, Sangwan V, Banerjee S, et al. Triptolide-mediated cell death in neuroblastoma occurs by both apoptosis and autophagy pathways and results in inhibition of nuclear factor-kappa B activity. Am J Surg. 2013; 205(4):387-96 [PubMed]
BACKGROUND: Neuroblastoma is an aggressive pediatric malignancy with significant chemotherapeutic resistance. We assessed triptolide as a potential therapy. METHODS: SH-SY5Y and IMR-32 neuroblastoma cell lines were treated with triptolide. Viability, intracellular calcium, caspase activation, protein, and mRNA levels were measured. Autophagy was evaluated with confocal microscopy. Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation was measured using a dual luciferase assay. RESULTS: Triptolide treatment resulted in death in both cell lines within 72 hours, with sustained increases in intracellular calcium. IMR-32 cells underwent cell death by apoptosis. Conversely, light chain 3II (LC3II) protein levels were elevated in SH-SY5Y cells, which is consistent with autophagy. Confocal microscopy confirmed increased LC3 puncta in SH-SY5Y cells compared with control cells. Heat shock pathway protein and mRNA levels decreased with treatment. NF-κB assays demonstrated inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-induced activity with triptolide. CONCLUSIONS: Triptolide treatment induces cell death in neuroblastoma by different mechanisms with multiple pathways targeted. Triptolide may serve a potential chemotherapeutic role in advanced cases of neuroblastoma.
Ferronha T, Rabadán MA, Gil-Guiñon E, et al. LMO4 is an essential cofactor in the Snail2-mediated epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of neuroblastoma and neural crest cells. J Neurosci. 2013; 33(7):2773-83 [PubMed]
Neuroblastoma is an embryonic tumor derived from cells of the neural crest. Taking advantage of a newly developed neural crest lineage tracer and based on the hypothesis that the molecular mechanisms that mediate neural crest delamination are also likely to be involved in the spread of neuroblastoma, we were able to identify genes that are active both in neural crest development and neuroblastoma tumor formation. A subsequent search of the neuroblastoma gene server for human orthologues of genes differentially expressed in the chick embryo neural crest screen retrieved the LIM domain only protein 4 (LMO4), which was expressed in both cell types analyzed. Functional experiments in these two model systems revealed that LMO4 activity is required for neuroblastoma cell invasion and neural crest delamination. Moreover, we identified LMO4 as an essential cofactor in Snail2-mediated cadherin repression and in the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of both neural crest and neuroblastoma cells. Together, our results suggest that the association of high levels of LMO4 with aggressive neuroblastomas is dependent on LMO4 regulation of cadherin expression and hence, tumor invasiveness.
Naves T, Jawhari S, Jauberteau MO, et al. Autophagy takes place in mutated p53 neuroblastoma cells in response to hypoxia mimetic CoCl(2). Biochem Pharmacol. 2013; 85(8):1153-61 [PubMed]
Solid tumors like neuroblastoma exhibit hypoxic areas, which can lead both to cell death or aggressiveness increase. Hypoxia is a known stress able to induce stabilization of p53, implicated in cell fate regulation. Recently, p53 appeared to be involved in autophagy in an opposite manner, depending on its location: when nuclear, it enhanced transcription of pro-autophagic genes whereas when cytoplasmic, it inhibited the autophagic process. Today, we used cobalt chloride, a hypoxia mimetic that inhibits proteasomal HIF-1 degradation and generates reactive oxygen species (ROS). We focused on CoCl2-induced cell death in a DNA-binding mutated p53 neuroblastoma cell line (SKNBE(2c)). An autophagic signaling was evidenced by an increase of Beclin-1, ATG 5-12, and LC3-II expression whereas the p53(mut) presence decreased with CoCl2 time exposure. Activation of the pathway seemed to protect cells from ROS production and, at least in part, from death. The autophagic inhibitors activated the apoptotic signaling and the death was enhanced. To delineate the eventual implication of the p53(mut) in the autophagic process in response to hypoxia, we monitored signaling in p53(WT)SHSY5Y cells, after either shRNA-p53 down-regulation or transcriptional activity inhibition by pifithrin alpha. We did not detect autophagy neither with p53(wt) nor when p53 was lacking whereas such a response was effective with a mutated or inactivated p53. To conclude, mutated p53 in neuroblastoma cells could be linked with the switch between apoptotic response and cell death by autophagy in response to hypoxic mimetic stress.
Corvetta D, Chayka O, Gherardi S, et al. Physical interaction between MYCN oncogene and polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) in neuroblastoma: functional and therapeutic implications. J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(12):8332-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article
CLU (clusterin) is a tumor suppressor gene that we have previously shown to be negatively modulated by the MYCN proto-oncogene, but the mechanism of repression was unclear. Here, we show that MYCN inhibits the expression of CLU by direct interaction with the non-canonical E box sequence CACGCG in the 5'-flanking region. Binding of MYCN to the CLU gene induces bivalent epigenetic marks and recruitment of repressive proteins such as histone deacetylases and Polycomb members. MYCN physically binds in vitro and in vivo to EZH2, a component of the Polycomb repressive complex 2, required to repress CLU. Notably, EZH2 interacts with the Myc box domain 3, a segment of MYC known to be essential for its transforming effects. The expression of CLU can be restored in MYCN-amplified cells by epigenetic drugs with therapeutic results. Importantly, the anticancer effects of the drugs are ablated if CLU expression is blunted by RNA interference. Our study implies that MYC tumorigenesis can be effectively antagonized by epigenetic drugs that interfere with the recruitment of chromatin modifiers at repressive E boxes of tumor suppressor genes such as CLU.
Li T, Zhao H, Hung GC, et al. Differentially expressed genes and pathways induced by organophosphates in human neuroblastoma cells. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2012; 237(12):1413-23 [PubMed]
Organophosphates (OPs) are toxic chemicals commonly used as pesticides and herbicides. Some OPs are highly toxic to humans and have been used in warfare and terrorist attacks. In order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of injury caused by OPs, the differentially expressed genes were analyzed in human SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells induced by three OPs. The SK-N-SH cells were treated with one of the three OPs, chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos or methamidophos at LC20 (high-dose), the concentration causing 20% cell death, as well as 1/20 of LC20 (low-dose), a sub-lethal concentration with no detectable cell death, for 24 h. The genome-wide gene changes were identified by Agilent Microarray System, and analyzed by microarray analysis tools. The analysis revealed neuroblastoma cells treated with the high doses of all three OPs markedly activated cell apoptosis and inhibited cell growth and proliferation genes, which would most likely lead to the process of cell death. Interestingly, the analysis also revealed significant decrease in expressions of many genes in a specific spliceosome pathway in cells treated with the low doses of all three different OPs. The change of spliceosome pathway may represent an important mechanism of injury in neuronal cells exposed to low doses of various OPs. In addition to unraveling a potentially different form of OP pathogenesis, this finding could provide a new diagnostic marker in assessing OP-associated injury in cells or tissues. In addition, these results could also contribute to the development of new prevention and/or therapeutic regimens against OP toxicity.
Groh T, Hrabeta J, Poljakova J, et al. Impact of histone deacetylase inhibitor valproic acid on the anticancer effect of etoposide on neuroblastoma cells. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2012; 33 Suppl 3:16-24 [PubMed]
OBJECTIVES: Etoposide (Vepesid, VP-16), an inhibitor of topoisomerase II, is a chemotherapeutic drug commonly used for treatment of different types of malignant diseases. By inhibiting the topoisomerase II enzyme activity in cancer cells, this drug leads to DNA damage and subsequently to cell death. In this study, we investigated the effect of this anticancer drug alone and in combination with a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, valproic acid (VPA), on a human UKF-NB-4 neuroblastoma cell line. METHODS: The effects of etoposide and VPA on UKF-NB-4 cells were tested under the normoxic and also the hypoxic (1% O2) cultivation conditions. The cytotoxicity of etoposide and VPA to a UKF-NB-4 neuroblastoma cell line was evaluated with MTT assay. Apoptosis of the cells was analyzed by flow cytometry using an Annexin V and propidium iodide binding method. The effect of etoposide and VPA on the cell cycle distribution was determined by flow cytometric analysis using propidium iodide staining. RESULTS: The results of the study demonstrate that UKF-NB-4 neuroblastoma cells are sensitive both to etoposide and to VPA. They also indicate that the impact of VPA on cytotoxicity of etoposide in these tumor cells varies depending on the sequence of cultivation of the cells with the drugs. As a suitable sequence of cultivation, with a high rate of suppression of neuroblastoma cell growth was found the preincubation of the cells with etoposide, which was followed by their cultivation with VPA. In contrast, the reversed combination (preincubation of the cells with VPA before their treating with etoposide) did not give any increase in etoposide cytotoxicity. The effect of such combined treatment can be explained by measuring the cell cycle distribution, which shows that both etoposide and VPA change the cell cycle phase distribution. CONCLUSION: Etoposide and VPA were found as cycle phase specific drugs that are cytotoxic to human UKF-NB-4 neuroblastoma cells used either as single drugs or both together. However, whereas VPA might sensitize the cells to etoposide, inappropriate sequence of cultivation of the cells with VPA can decrease the etoposide cytotoxic efficacy. The results found here warrant further studies of combined treatment of neuroblastoma cells with etoposide with HDAC inhibitors and may help in the design of new protocols geared to the treatment of high risk neuroblastomas.
Decarolis B, Schneider C, Hero B, et al. Iodine-123 metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy scoring allows prediction of outcome in patients with stage 4 neuroblastoma: results of the Cologne interscore comparison study. J Clin Oncol. 2013; 31(7):944-51 [PubMed]
PURPOSE: Radioiodinated metaiodobenzylguanidine ((123)I-mIBG) scintigraphy is an established imaging method in neuroblastoma. Semiquantitative scoring systems have been developed to assess the extent of disease and response to chemotherapy. We present the results of the comparison between the SIOPEN [International Society of Pediatric Oncology Europe Neuroblastoma Group] score and the modified Curie score. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed 147 mIBG scans of 58 patients older than 1 year of age with stage 4 neuroblastoma from German Neuroblastoma Trial NB97 that were assessed according to the SIOPEN and the Curie scoring method. mIBG examinations were performed at diagnosis and after four and six cycles of chemotherapy. RESULTS: Scoring results were highly correlated between both methods, and interobserver reliability was excellent. A Curie score ≤ 2 and a SIOPEN score ≤ 4 (best cutoff) at diagnosis were correlated to significantly better event-free and overall survival compared with higher scores. After four cycles of chemotherapy, overall survival was significantly better for mIBG-negative patients compared with those with any residual mIBG-positive metastases. After six cycles of chemotherapy, there was no difference in survival between mIBG-negative patients and patients with residual mIBG-positive metastases. Patients without mIBG-positive metastases after four and six cycles of chemotherapy had a better overall survival, but late clearance of mIBG-positive metastases did not improve outcome. CONCLUSION: Higher mIBG scores at diagnosis and occurrence of any residual mIBG-positive metastases after four cycles of chemotherapy predicted unfavorable outcome for patients with stage 4 neuroblastoma. Later clearance of metastases did not improve prognosis. The Curie and the SIOPEN score were equally reliable and predictive.
Rogers DA, Schor NF Kidins220/ARMS depletion is associated with the neural-to Schwann-like transition in a human neuroblastoma cell line model. Exp Cell Res. 2013; 319(5):660-9 [PubMed]
Peripheral neuroblastic tumors exist as a heterogeneous mixture of neuroblastic (N-type) cells and Schwannian stromal (S-type) cells. These stromal cells not only represent a differentiated and less aggressive fraction of the tumor, but also have properties that can influence the further differentiation of nearby malignant cells. In vitro neuroblastoma cultures exhibit similar heterogeneity with N-type and S-type cells representing the neuroblastic and stromal portions of the tumor, respectively, in behavior, morphology, and molecular expression patterns. In this study, we deplete kinase D-interacting substrate of 220kD (Kidins220) with an shRNA construct and thereby cause morphologic transition of the human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line from N-type to S-type. The resulting cells have similar morphology and expression profile to SH-EP1 cells, a native S-type cell line from the same parent cell line, and to SH-SY5Y cells treated with BrdU, a treatment that induces S-type morphology. Specifically, both Kidins220-deficient SH-SY5Y cells and native SH-EP1 cells demonstrate down-regulation of the genes DCX and STMN2, markers for the neuronal lineage. We further show that Kidins220, DCX and STMN2 are co-down-regulated in cells of S-type morphology generated by methods other than Kidins220 depletion. Finally, we report that the association of low Kidins220 expression with S-type morphology and low DCX and STMN2 expression is demonstrated in spontaneously occurring human peripheral neuroblastic tumors. We propose that Kidins220 is critical in N- to S-type transition of neural crest tumor cells.
Ganeshan V, Ashton J, Schor NF p75NTR: an enhancer of fenretinide toxicity in neuroblastoma. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2013; 71(3):777-87 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2014
OBJECTIVE: Neuroblastoma is a common, frequently fatal, neural crest tumor of childhood. Chemotherapy-resistant neuroblastoma cells typically have Schwann cell-like ("S-type") morphology and express the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR). p75NTR has been previously shown to modulate the redox state of neural crest tumor cells. We, therefore, hypothesized that p75NTR expression level would influence the effects of the redox-active chemotherapeutic drug fenretinide on neuroblastoma cells. METHODS: Transfection and lentiviral transduction were used to manipulate p75NTR expression in these cell lines. Sensitivity to fenretinide was determined by concentration- and time-cell survival studies. Apoptosis incidence was determined by morphological assessment and examination of cleavage of poly-ADP ribose polymerase and caspase-3. Generation and subcellular localization of reactive oxygen species were quantified using species- and site-specific stains and by examining the effects of site-selective antioxidants on cell survival after fenretinide treatment. Studies of mitochondrial electron transport employed specific inhibitors of individual proteins in the electron transport chain. RESULTS: Knockdown of p75NTR attenuates fenretinide-induced accumulation of mitochondrial superoxide and apoptosis. Overexpression of p75NTR has the opposite effects. Pretreatment of cells with 2-thenoyltrifluoroacetone or dehydroascorbic acid uniquely prevents mitochondrial superoxide accumulation and cell death after fenretinide treatment, indicating that mitochondrial complex II is the likely site of fenretinide-induced superoxide generation and p75NTR-induced potentiation of these phenomena. CONCLUSION: Modification of expression of p75NTR in a particular neuroblastoma cell line modifies its susceptibility to fenretinide. Enhancers of p75NTR expression or signaling could be potential drugs for use as adjuncts to chemotherapy of neural tumors.
Ramani P, Headford A, May MT GLUT1 protein expression correlates with unfavourable histologic category and high risk in patients with neuroblastic tumours. Virchows Arch. 2013; 462(2):203-9 [PubMed]
GLUT1 is a hypoxia-induced gene that has many biologically important functions, and the overexpression of the GLUT1 protein correlates with poor prognosis in several adult cancers. The clinical significance of the GLUT1 protein in peripheral neuroblastic tumours (NTs) has not been comprehensively documented. In the present retrospective study, immunohistochemical analyses revealed the presence of GLUT1 in 44/96 (46 %) NTs. Membranous GLUT1 was present in neuroblasts of 44/87 neuroblastomas (NBs) and nodular ganglioneuroblastomas (nGNBs) but was absent in ganglion cells. The presence of GLUT1 was significantly increased in NBs and nGNBs compared with maturing ganglioneuromas and intermixed ganglioneuroblastomas (P < 0.001). The proportion of NBs and nGNBs expressing GLUT1 was significantly increased in the high-risk and low/intermediate-risk groups compared with the very-low-risk group (P = 0.022) and the unfavourable compared with the favourable pathology prognostic group (P = 0.027). In the Cox regression analyses, GLUT1 expression indicated a worse overall survival (OS; hazard rate ratio (HR) 2.29, P = 0.053) and event-free survival (EFS; HR 1.68, P = 0.181) which was not attenuated by adjustment for the mitosis-karyorrhexis index and MYCN amplification (OS: adjusted HR 2.44, P = 0.053 and EFS: adjusted HR 1.63, P = 0.244). This indicated that GLUT1 protein expression was independent of mitosis-karyorrhexis index and MYCN amplification as a prognostic factor. Our data may have clinical significance because GLUT1 was also present in a higher proportion of high-risk NTs.
Chen SJ, Zhang W, Tong Q, et al. Role of TRPM2 in cell proliferation and susceptibility to oxidative stress. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2013; 304(6):C548-60 [PubMed]
The transient receptor potential (TRP) channel TRPM2 is an ion channel that modulates cell survival. We report here that full-length (TRPM2-L) and short (TRPM2-S) isoform expression was significantly increased in human neuroblastoma compared with adrenal gland. To differentiate the roles of TRPM2-L and TRPM2-S in cell proliferation and survival, we established neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell lines stably expressing either TRPM2 isoform or empty vector. Cells expressing TRPM2-S showed significantly enhanced proliferation, downregulation of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), and increased protein kinase B (Akt) phosphorylation and cell surface glucose transporter 1 (Glut1) compared with cells expressing TRPM2-L or empty vector. ERK phosphorylation was increased, and forkhead box O 3a (FOXO3a) levels were decreased. Inhibitor studies demonstrated that enhanced proliferation was dependent on phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt, ERK, and NADPH oxidase activation. On the other hand, TRPM2-S-expressing cells were significantly more susceptible to cell death induced by low H2O2 concentrations (50-100 μM), whereas TRPM2-L-expressing cells were protected. This was associated with a significant increase in FOXO3a, MnSOD (SOD2), and membrane Glut1 in TRPM2-L-expressing cells compared with TRPM2-S expressing cells. We conclude that TRPM2 channels occupy a key role in cell proliferation and survival following oxidative stress in neuroblastoma. Our results suggest that overexpression of TRPM2-S results in increased proliferation through phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and ERK pathways, while overexpression of TRPM2-L confers protection against oxidative stress-induced cell death through FOXO3a and SOD. TRPM2 channels may represent a novel future therapeutic target in diseases involving oxidative stress.
Unguru Y, Joffe S, Fernandez CV, Yu AL Ethical issues for control-arm patients after revelation of benefits of experimental therapy: a framework modeled in neuroblastoma. J Clin Oncol. 2013; 31(5):641-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/02/2014
In 2009, the Children's Oncology Group (COG) phase III randomized controlled trial, ANBL0032, found that adding immunotherapy (Ch14.18) to standard therapy significantly improved outcomes in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma when administered within 110 days after autologous stem-cell transplantation (SCT). After careful deliberation and consultation, the COG Neuroblastoma Committee decided to offer Ch14.18 to prior trial participants who had been randomly assigned to the control arm (no immunotherapy), regardless of the time that had elapsed since SCT. This decision occurred in the context of a limited supply of Ch14.18 and no data regarding its role when administered beyond 110 days. In this article, we analyze the numerous ethical challenges highlighted by the ANBL0032 trial, including the limits of researchers' reciprocity-based obligations to study participants, post-trial access to beneficial therapies, and the balance between scientific knowledge and parental hope. These deliberations may be useful to other researchers when considering their ethical obligations to control-arm participants in the wake of a positive randomized trial.
Li J, Gu L, Zhang H, et al. Berberine represses DAXX gene transcription and induces cancer cell apoptosis. Lab Invest. 2013; 93(3):354-64 [PubMed]
Death-domain-associated protein (DAXX) is a multifunctional protein that regulates a wide range of cellular signaling pathways for both cell survival and apoptosis. Regulation of DAXX gene expression remains largely obscure. We recently reported that berberine (BBR), a natural product derived from a plant used in Chinese herbal medicine, downregulates DAXX expression at the transcriptional level. Here, we further investigate the mechanisms underlying the transcriptional suppression of DAXX by BBR. By analyzing and mapping the putative DAXX gene promoter, we identified the core promoter region (from -161 to -1), which contains consensus sequences for the transcriptional factors Sp1 and Ets1. We confirmed that Sp1 and Ets1 bound to the core promoter region of DAXX and stimulated DAXX transcriptional activity. In contrast, BBR bound to the DAXX core promoter region and suppressed its transcriptional activity. Following studies demonstrated a possible mechanism that BBR inhibited the DAXX promoter activity through blocking or disrupting the association of Sp1 or Ets1 and their consensus sequences in the promoter. Downregulation of DAXX by BBR resulted in inhibition of MDM2 and subsequently, activation of p53, leading to cancer cell death. Our results reveal a novel possible mechanism: by competitively binding to the Sp1 and Ets1 consensus sequences, BBR inhibits the transcription of DAXX, thus inducing cancer cell apoptosis through a p53-dependent pathway.
Simon T, Häberle B, Hero B, et al. Role of surgery in the treatment of patients with stage 4 neuroblastoma age 18 months or older at diagnosis. J Clin Oncol. 2013; 31(6):752-8 [PubMed]
PURPOSE: Although intensive multimodal treatment has improved the prognosis of patients with metastatic neuroblastoma, the impact of primary tumor resection on outcome is a matter of medical debate. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients from the German prospective clinical trial NB97 with stage 4 neuroblastoma and age 18 months or older at diagnosis were included. Operation notes and imaging reports were reviewed by two independent experienced physicians. Finally, the extent of tumor resections was correlated with local control rate and outcome. RESULTS: A total of 278 patients were included in this study. Image-defined risk factors present at diagnosis were found to be predictive for the extent of tumor resection at first (P < .001) and best (P < .001) operation. No patient died from surgery. Before chemotherapy, complete resection, incomplete resection, and biopsy or no surgery were performed in 6.1%, 5.0%, and 88.5% of patients, respectively. The extent of first operation had no impact on event-free survival (EFS; P = .207), local progression-free survival (LPFS; P = .195), and overall survival (OS; P = .351). After induction chemotherapy, 54.7% of patients underwent complete resection of the primary tumor, 30.6% underwent incomplete resection, and 13.3% had only biopsy or no surgery of the primary tumor. The extent of best operation also had no impact on EFS (P = .877), LPFS (P = .299), and OS (P = .778). Moreover, multivariate analyses showed that surgery did not affect EFS, LPFS, and OS. CONCLUSION: In intensively treated patients with stage 4 neuroblastoma age 18 months or older at diagnosis, surgery of the primary tumor site has no impact on local control rate and outcome.
Sugimoto T, Gotoh T, Yagyu S, et al. A MYCN-amplified cell line derived from a long-term event-free survivor among our sixteen established neuroblastoma cell lines. Cancer Lett. 2013; 331(1):115-21 [PubMed]
Although more than 110 neuroblastoma (NB) cell lines have been established, there have been neither reports on the rate of success to establish NB cell lines, nor well-documented NB cell lines from long-term-survivors. We attempted to establish NB cell lines from 114 patients. Sixteen NB cell lines were established from 12 patients. The success rates to establish cell lines were 1.4% (1/70) from patients in early stages, 25.0% (11/44) from those in advanced stages, and 10.5% (12/114) from those in all stages respectively. Eleven of these 12 patients eventually died. The surviving patient, who was in stage 4 with MYCN-amplification, has been event-free for 19 years after completing therapy. The serum MYCN DNA level in patient TK was very high before therapy, decreased after chemotherapy, and has remained at the normal levels until now. The gene expression profiling of the primary tumor and the K-N-TK cell line was analyzed with an NB-specific cDNA microarray, and indicated that the probability of 5-year survival was extremely low. Microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis indicated that genomic aberration profiles of the cell line were uncommon, with MYCN amplification, 17q gain and 11q loss. A unique KP-N-TK cell line, established from an event-free survivor, will be a useful tool for investigating how a patient can survive a tumor with an extremely poor prognosis.
Krishnadas DK, Shapiro T, Lucas K Complete remission following decitabine/dendritic cell vaccine for relapsed neuroblastoma. Pediatrics. 2013; 131(1):e336-41 [PubMed]
Patients with relapsed stage 4 neuroblastoma have an extremely poor long-term prognosis, making the investigation of new agents of interest. We report the outcome of the first patient treated in a phase 1 study for relapsed neuroblastoma, using the chemotherapy agent decitabine to upregulate cancer testis antigen expression, followed by a dendritic cell vaccine targeting the cancer testis antigens MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3, and NY-ESO-1. Our patient had persistent tumor in his bone marrow after completion of standard therapy for neuroblastoma, including multiagent chemotherapy, tumor resection, stem cell transplantation, radiation therapy, and anti-GD2 monoclonal antibodies. His marrow disease persisted despite chemotherapy, which was given while the vaccine was being produced. After 3 cycles of decitabine and vaccine, this patient achieved a complete remission and is now 1 year from his last treatment, with no evidence of tumor in his bone marrow or other sites. This patient was noted to have an increase in MAGE-A3-specific T cells. This is the first report combining demethylating chemotherapy to enhance tumor antigen expression followed by a cancer antigen vaccine.
Combaret V, Iacono I, Bréjon S, et al. Analysis of genomic alterations in neuroblastoma by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and array comparative genomic hybridization: a comparison of results. Cancer Genet. 2012; 205(12):657-64 [PubMed]
In cases of neuroblastoma, recurring genetic alterations--losses of the 1p, 3p, 4p, and 11q and/or gains of 1q, 2p, and 17q chromosome arms--are currently used to define the therapeutic strategy in therapeutic protocols for low- and intermediate-risk patients. Different genome-wide analysis techniques, such as array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) or multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA), have been suggested for detecting chromosome segmental abnormalities. In this study, we compared the results of the two technologies in the analyses of the DNA of tumor samples from 91 neuroblastoma patients. Similar results were obtained with the two techniques for 75 samples (82%). In five cases (5.5%), the MLPA results were not interpretable. Discrepancies between the aCGH and MLPA results were observed in 11 cases (12%). Among the discrepancies, a 18q21.2-qter gain and 16p11.2 and 11q14.1-q14.3 losses were detected only by aCGH. The MLPA results showed that the 7p, 7q, and 14q chromosome arms were affected in six cases, while in two cases, 2p and 17q gains were observed; these results were confirmed by neither aCGH nor fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. Because of the higher sensitivity and specificity of genome-wide information, reasonable cost, and shorter time of aCGH analysis, we recommend the aCGH procedure for the analysis of genomic alterations in neuroblastoma.
Giuliani S, Marachelian A, Franklin A, et al. Forearm skeletal muscle neuroblastoma in a child: a rare primary location. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2013; 35(1):61-3 [PubMed]
Neuroblastoma is the most common neoplasm in the first year of life and almost always arises from the adrenal glands or the sympathetic nervous system chain. We present an original case of an isolated forearm neuroblastoma in a 17-month-old child. The case was not treated with adjuvant chemotherapy after surgical resection because we interpreted it as a peripheral, INSS-stage 1, favorable histology neuroblastoma. Up to date the child remains in complete remission 4 years after diagnosis. Management of peripheral skeletal muscle neuroblastoma is discussed together with a review of the literature.
Panelli D, Lorusso FP, Papa F, et al. The mechanism of alternative splicing of the X-linked NDUFB11 gene of the respiratory chain complex I, impact of rotenone treatment in neuroblastoma cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1829(2):211-8 [PubMed]
A study is presented on the regulation of alternative splicing (AS) of the Ndufb11 gene of complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and the impact on this process of rotenone treatment in neuroblastoma cells. In physiological conditions the Ndufb11 gene produces at high level a short transcript isoform encoding for a 153 aa protein. This subunit is essential for the assembly of a functional and stable mammalian complex I. The gene produces also, at low level, a longer transcript isoform encoding for a 163 aa protein whose role is unknown. Evidence is presented here showing that the level of the two isoforms is regulated by three DGGGD ESS elements located in exon 2 which can bind the hnRNPH1 protein. In neuronal cells rotenone treatment affects the Ndufb11 alternative splicing pathway, with the increase of the 163/153 mRNAs ratio. This effect appears to be due to the down-regulation of the hnRNPH1 protein. Since rotenone induces apoptosis in neuronal cells, the post-transcriptional regulation of the Ndufb11 gene can be involved in the programmed cell death process.
Gamazon ER, Pinto N, Konkashbaev A, et al. Trans-population analysis of genetic mechanisms of ethnic disparities in neuroblastoma survival. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013; 105(4):302-9 [PubMed]
BACKGROUND: Black patients with neuroblastoma have a higher prevalence of high-risk disease and worse outcome than white patients. We sought to investigate the relationship between genetic variation and the disparities in survival observed in neuroblastoma. METHODS: The analytic cohort was composed of 2709 patients. Principal components were used to assign patients to genomic ethnic clusters for survival analyses. Locus-specific ancestry was calculated for use in association analysis. The shorter spans of linkage disequilibrium in African populations may facilitate the fine mapping of causal variants in regions previously implicated by genome-wide association studies conducted primarily in patients of European descent. Thus, we evaluated 13 single nucleotide polymorphisms known to be associated with susceptibility to high-risk neuroblastoma from genome-wide association studies and all variants with highly divergent allele frequencies in reference African and European populations near the known susceptibility loci. All statistical tests were two-sided. RESULTS: African genomic ancestry was associated with high-risk neuroblastoma (P = .007) and lower event-free survival (P = .04, hazard ratio = 1.4, 95% confidence interval = 1.05 to 1.80). rs1033069 within SPAG16 (sperm associated antigen 16) was determined to have higher risk allele frequency in the African reference population and statistically significant association with high-risk disease in patients of European and African ancestry (P = 6.42 × 10(-5), false discovery rate < 0.0015) in the overall cohort. Multivariable analysis using an additive model demonstrated that the SPAG16 single nucleotide polymorphism contributes to the observed ethnic disparities in high-risk disease and survival. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that common genetic variation influences neuroblastoma phenotype and contributes to the ethnic disparities in survival observed and illustrates the value of trans-population mapping.
Kishida S, Mu P, Miyakawa S, et al. Midkine promotes neuroblastoma through Notch2 signaling. Cancer Res. 2013; 73(4):1318-27 [PubMed]
Midkine is a heparin-binding growth factor highly expressed in various cancers, including neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial pediatric solid tumor. Prognosis of patients with neuroblastoma in which MYCN is amplified remains particularly poor. In this study, we used a MYCN transgenic model for neuroblastoma in which midkine is highly expressed in precancerous lesions of sympathetic ganglia. Genetic ablation of midkine in this model delayed tumor formation and reduced tumor incidence. Furthermore, an RNA aptamer that specifically bound midkine suppressed the growth of neuroblastoma cells in vitro and in vivo in tumor xenografts. In precancerous lesions, midkine-deficient MYCN transgenic mice exhibited defects in activation of Notch2, a candidate midkine receptor, and expression of the Notch target gene HES1. Similarly, RNA aptamer-treated tumor xenografts also showed attenuation of Notch2-HES1 signaling. Our findings establish a critical role for the midkine-Notch2 signaling axis in neuroblastoma tumorigenesis, which implicates new strategies to treat neuroblastoma.
DE Ioris MA, Contoli B, Jenkner A, et al. Comparison of two different conditioning regimens before autologous transplantation for children with high-risk neuroblastoma. Anticancer Res. 2012; 32(12):5527-33 [PubMed]
BACKGROUND: Although high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) represents the standard of treatment for high-risk neuroblastoma (NBL), the most effective conditioning regimen still remains to be identified. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Forty-one high-risk NBL entered into local protocol based on induction chemotherapy, surgery and HDC with either etoposide/thiotepa/cyclophophamide (ETC) or i.v. busulfan and L-PAM (Bu/L-PAM). RESULTS: Thirty-seven patients underwent HDC; 29 with ETC and 8 with Bu/L-PAM. No toxic deaths were recorded. The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) of patients given ETC was 21% (95% confidence interval CI (9-36%), while PFS for patients given Bu/L-PAM was 88% (95% CI=39-98%) (p<0.05). In multivariate analysis, treatment with the ETC regimen predicted progression/recurrence with a hazard ratio (HR) of 16.8 (p<0.05), as well as MYCN amplification which had an HR of 4.4 (p<0.05). CONCLUSION: Although the number of studied cases is limited, our data suggest that in high-risk NBL the combination of Bu/L-PAM is superior to the ETC regimen.
Capasso M, Diskin SJ, Totaro F, et al. Replication of GWAS-identified neuroblastoma risk loci strengthens the role of BARD1 and affirms the cumulative effect of genetic variations on disease susceptibility. Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(3):605-11 [PubMed]
Several neuroblastoma (NB) susceptibility loci have been identified within LINC00340, BARD1, LMO1, DUSP12, HSD17B12, DDX4, IL31RA, HACE1 and LIN28B by genome-wide association (GWA) studies including European American individuals. To validate and comprehensively evaluate the impact of the identified NB variants on disease risk and phenotype, we analyzed 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in an Italian population (370 cases and 809 controls). We assessed their regulatory activity on gene expression in lymphoblastoid (LCLs) and NB cell lines. We evaluated the cumulative effect of the independent loci on NB risk and high-risk phenotype development in Italian and European American (1627 cases and 2575 controls) populations. All NB susceptibility genes replicated in the Italian dataset except for DDX4 and IL31RA, and the most significant SNP was rs6435862 in BARD1 (P = 8.4 × 10(-15)). BARD1 showed an additional and independent SNP association (rs7585356). This variant influenced BARD1 mRNA expression in LCLs and NB cell lines. No evidence of epistasis among the NB-associated variants was detected, whereas a cumulative effect of risk variants on NB risk (European Americans: P (trend) = 6.9 × 10(-30), Italians: P (trend) = 8.55 × 10(13)) and development of high-risk phenotype (European Americans: P (trend) = 6.9 × 10(-13), Italians: P (trend) = 2.2 × 10(-1)) was observed in a dose-dependent manner. These results provide further evidence that the risk loci identified in GWA studies contribute to NB susceptibility in distinct populations and strengthen the role of BARD1 as major genetic contributor to NB risk. This study shows that even in the absence of interaction the combination of several low-penetrance alleles has potential to distinguish subgroups of patients at different risks of developing NB.
Bell N, Hann V, Redfern CP, Cheek TR Store-operated Ca(2+) entry in proliferating and retinoic acid-differentiated N- and S-type neuroblastoma cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1833(3):643-51 [PubMed]
Neuroblastoma cell lines are heterogeneous, comprised of at least three distinct cell phenotypes; neuroblastic N-type cells, non-neuronal substrate-adherent S-type cells and intermediate I-type cells. N- and S-type cell populations were enriched from the parental SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line and induced to differentiate by the addition of retinoic acid (RA), a drug used in the treatment of neuroblastoma. N- and S-type cells were identified based on their differential expression of β-tubulin III, vimentin and Bcl-2. Store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) was then measured in proliferating and differentiated N- and S-type cell populations and the expression of STIM1, Orai1 and TRPC1, three proteins reported to play a key role in SOCE, was determined. In N-type cells the RA-induced switch from proliferation to differentiation was accompanied by a down-regulation in SOCE. STIM1 and Orai1 expression became down-regulated in differentiated cells, consistent with their respective roles as ER Ca(2+) sensor and store-operated Ca(2+) channel (SOC). TRPC1 became up-regulated suggesting that TRPC1 is not involved in SOCE, at least in differentiated N-type cells. In S-type cells SOCE remained active following the RA-induced switch from proliferation to differentiation and the expression of STIM1 and Orai1 remained unchanged. TRPC1 was not expressed in S-type cells. Our results indicate that differentiation of neuronal cells is associated with a remodelling of SOCE. Therapeutic targeting of SOCE proteins could potentially be a means of promoting neuronal differentiation in the treatment of neuroblastoma.
Tong CW, Wang JL, Jiang MS, et al. Novel genes that mediate nuclear respiratory factor 1-regualted neurite outgrowth in neuroblastoma IMR-32 cells. Gene. 2013; 515(1):62-70 [PubMed]
Nuclear respiratory factor-1 (NRF-1) is a transcription factor that functions in neurite outgrowth; however, the genes downstream from NRF-1 that mediate this function remain largely unknown. This study employs a genome-wide analysis approach to identify NRF-1-targeted genes in human neuroblastoma IMR-32 cells. A total of 916 human genes containing the putative NRF-1 response element (NRE) in their promoter regions were identified using a cutoff score determined by results from electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA). Seventy-four NRF-1 target genes were listed according to the typical locations and high conservation of NREs. Fifteen genes, MAPRE3, NPDC1, RAB3IP, TRAPPC3, SMAD5, PIP5K1A, USP10, SPRY4, GTF2F2, NR1D1, SUV39H2, SKA3, RHOA, RAPGEF6, and SMAP1 were selected for biological confirmation. EMSA and chromatin immunoprecipitation confirmed that all NREs of these fifteen genes are critical for NRF-1 binding. Quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that mRNA levels of 12 of these genes are regulated by NRF-1. Overexpression or knockdown of candidate genes demonstrated that MAPRE3, NPDC1, SMAD5, USP10, SPRY4, GTF2F2, SKA3, SMAP1 positively regulated, and RHOA and RAPGEF6 negatively regulated neurite outgrowth. Overall, our data showed that the combination of genome-wide bioinformatic analysis and biological experiments helps to identify the novel NRF-1-regulated genes, which play roles in differentiation of neuroblastoma cells.
Lu MY, Liu YL, Chang HH, et al. Characterization of neuroblastic tumors using 18F-FDOPA PET. J Nucl Med. 2013; 54(1):42-9 [PubMed]
UNLABELLED: Neuroblastic tumors are childhood neoplasms that possess amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) activity and can theoretically be imaged by (18)F-fluorodihydroxyphenylalanine ((18)F-FDOPA) PET, a new diagnostic tool for neuroendocrine tumors. In this study, we explored the accuracy and clinical role of (18)F-FDOPA PET in neuroblastic tumors. METHODS: From 2008 to 2011, patients with tissue-proven neuroblastic tumors receiving (18)F-FDOPA PET at initial diagnosis or during follow-ups were enrolled. The sensitivity and specificity of (18)F-FDOPA PET were compared with those of (123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine ((123)I-MIBG) scintigraphy and (18)F-FDG PET, using tumor histology as the standard. The maximum standardized uptake value and tumor-to-liver uptake ratio on (18)F-FDOPA PET were measured and correlated with AADC messenger RNA level in tumor tissue. RESULTS: Fifty tumors from 34 patients, including 42 neuroblastic tumors and 8 lesions without viable tumor cells, were eligible for analysis. (18)F-FDOPA PET successfully detected neuroblastic tumors of different histologic types in various anatomic sites, at a sensitivity of 97.6% (87.4%-99.9%) and a specificity of 87.5% (47.3%-99.7%). In tumors with concomitant studies, (18)F-FDOPA PET demonstrated a higher sensitivity than (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy (n = 18; P = 0.0455) or (18)F-FDG PET (n = 46; P = 0.0455). Among the 18 tumors with concomitant (123)I-MIBG scans, 4 tumors with viable cells were (123)I-MIBG-negative but were successfully detected by (18)F-FDOPA PET. The tumor uptake of (18)F-FDOPA significantly correlated with AADC expression (n = 15 nonhepatic tumors; maximum standardized uptake value, P = 0.0002; tumor-to-liver uptake ratio, P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: (18)F-FDOPA PET showed high sensitivity and specificity in detecting and tracking neuroblastic tumors in this preliminary study with a small cohort of patients and might be complementary to (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy and (18)F-FDG PET. By correlating with AADC expression, (18)F-FDOPA PET might serve as a useful imaging tool for the functional assessment of neuroblastic tumors.
Sausen M, Leary RJ, Jones S, et al. Integrated genomic analyses identify ARID1A and ARID1B alterations in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma. Nat Genet. 2013; 45(1):12-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 16/06/2013
Neuroblastomas are tumors of peripheral sympathetic neurons and are the most common solid tumor in children. To determine the genetic basis for neuroblastoma, we performed whole-genome sequencing (6 cases), exome sequencing (16 cases), genome-wide rearrangement analyses (32 cases) and targeted analyses of specific genomic loci (40 cases) using massively parallel sequencing. On average, each tumor had 19 somatic alterations in coding genes (range of 3-70). Among genes not previously known to be involved in neuroblastoma, chromosomal deletions and sequence alterations of the chromatin-remodeling genes ARID1A and ARID1B were identified in 8 of 71 tumors (11%) and were associated with early treatment failure and decreased survival. Using tumor-specific structural alterations, we developed an approach to identify rearranged DNA fragments in sera, providing personalized biomarkers for minimal residual disease detection and monitoring. These results highlight the dysregulation of chromatin remodeling in pediatric tumorigenesis and provide new approaches for the management of patients with neuroblastoma.
Gogolin S, Batra R, Harder N, et al. MYCN-mediated overexpression of mitotic spindle regulatory genes and loss of p53-p21 function jointly support the survival of tetraploid neuroblastoma cells. Cancer Lett. 2013; 331(1):35-45 [PubMed]
High-risk neuroblastomas often harbor structural chromosomal alterations, including amplified MYCN, and usually have a near-di/tetraploid DNA index, but the mechanisms creating tetraploidy remain unclear. Gene-expression analyses revealed that certain MYCN/MYC and p53/pRB-E2F target genes, especially regulating mitotic processes, are strongly expressed in near-di/tetraploid neuroblastomas. Using a functional RNAi screening approach and live-cell imaging, we identified a group of genes, including MAD2L1, which after knockdown induced mitotic-linked cell death in MYCN-amplified and TP53-mutated neuroblastoma cells. We found that MYCN/MYC-mediated overactivation of the metaphase-anaphase checkpoint synergizes with loss of p53-p21 function to prevent arrest or apoptosis of tetraploid neuroblastoma cells.
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