Common variants in DNA may predispose to onset and progression of neuroblastoma (NB). The genotype GG of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1800795 (−174 G>C) in interleukin (IL)-6 promoter has been associated with lower survival of high-risk NB.
To evaluate the impact of IL-6 SNP rs1800795 on disease risk and phenotype, we analyzed 326 Italian NB patients and 511 controls. Moreover, we performed in silico and quantitative Real Time (qRT)-PCR analyses to evaluate the influence of the SNP on gene expression in 198 lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) and in 31 NB tumors, respectively. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to verify the association between IL-6 gene expression and patient survival. We found that IL-6 SNP is not involved in susceptibility to NB development. However, our results show that a low frequency of genotype CC is significantly associated with a low overall survival, advanced stage, and high-risk phenotype. The in silico (p = 2.61×10−5) and qRT-PCR (p = 0.03) analyses showed similar trend indicating that the CC genotype is correlated with increased level of IL-6 expression. In report gene assay, we showed that the −174 C variant had a significantly increased transcriptional activity compared with G allele (p = 0.0006). Moreover, Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated that high levels of IL-6 are associated with poor outcome in children with NB in two independent gene expression array datasets.
The biological effect of SNP IL-6–174 G>C in relation to promotion of cancer progression is consistent with the observed decreased survival time. The present study suggests that SNP IL-6–174 G>C may be a useful marker for NB prognosis.
The −174G>C (rs1800795) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the promoter of the interleukin-6 (IL6) gene and the 1730G>A (rs4986938) SNP in the estrogen receptor beta (ESR2) may influence the risk of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). We investigated these SNPs in 380 unrelated US Caucasian PD cases and 522 controls, including 452 individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) origin (260 PD, 192 controls). The G allele of the −174G>C SNP was more common in AJ PD cases (p=0.033) as well as in Non-Jewish (NJ) men with PD (p=0.022). The GG genotype increased the risk of PD by over two fold in NJ men (OR=2.11, 95%CI: 1.14–3.89, p=0.017), and approached significance in the total AJ group with PD (OR=1.42, 95%CI: 0.97–2.06, p=0.067). The A allele of the ESR2 1730G>A SNP was associated with a decreased risk for PD in AJ women, and in this group, having the AA genotype decreased the risk of PD by half (OR=0.45, 95%CI: 0.22–0.92, p=0.029). Our data supports a role for the IL6 −174G>C G allele in AJ individuals overall. In NJ Caucasians, this role appears to be gender mediated. In both groups, the effect is independent from ESR2 1730G>A. A separate association for the ESR2 1730G>A SNP was found exclusively in women of AJ descent. Other polymorphisms in tight linkage disequilibrium with the SNP differentially influencing expression, ethnic differences in allele distribution, and gender differences in genetic load related to PD, may underlie our findings. Larger studies in diverse populations, including analysis of surrounding regions are recommended.
Interleukin 6; Parkinson’s disease; estrogen receptor; polymorphism; inflammation; gender
Neuroblastoma is one of the most common solid tumors of childhood, arising from immature sympathetic nervous system cells. The clinical course of patients with neuroblastoma is highly variable, ranging from spontaneous regression to widespread metastatic disease. Although the outcome for children with cancer has improved considerably during the past decades, the prognosis of children with aggressive neuroblastoma remains dismal. The clinical heterogeneity of neuroblastoma mirrors the biological and genetic heterogeneity of these tumors. Ploidy and MYCN amplification have been used as genetic markers for risk stratification and therapeutic decision making, and, more recently, gene expression profiling and genome-wide DNA copy number analysis have come into the picture as sensitive and specific tools for assessing prognosis. The applica tion of new genetic tools also led to the discovery of an important familial neuroblastoma cancer gene, ALK, which is mutated in approximately 8% of sporadic tumors, and genome-wide association studies have unveiled loci with risk alleles for neuroblastoma development. For some of the genomic regions that are deleted in some neuroblastomas, on 1p, 3p and 11q, candidate tumor suppressor genes have been identified. In addition, evidence has emerged for the contribution of epigenetic disturbances in neuroblastoma oncogenesis. As in other cancer entities, altered microRNA expression is also being recognized as an important player in neuroblastoma. The recent successes in unraveling the genetic basis of neuroblastoma are now opening opportunities for development of targeted therapies.
Neuroblastoma is a very heterogeneous pediatric tumor of the sympathetic nervous system showing clinically significant patterns of genetic alterations. Favorable tumors usually have near-triploid karyotypes with few structural rearrangements. Aggressive stage 4 tumors often have near-diploid or near-tetraploid karyotypes and structural rearrangements. Whole genome approaches for analysis of genome-wide copy number have been used to analyze chromosomal abnormalities in tumor samples. We have used array-based copy number analysis using oligonucleotide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) arrays to analyze the chromosomal structure of a large number of neuroblastoma tumors of different clinical and biological subsets.
Ninety-two neuroblastoma tumors were analyzed with 50 K and/or 250 K SNP arrays from Affymetrix, using CNAG3.0 software. Thirty percent of the tumors harbored 1p deletion, 22% deletion of 11q, 26% had MYCN amplification and 45% 17q gain. Most of the tumors with 1p deletion were found among those with MYCN amplification. Loss of 11q was most commonly seen in tumors without MYCN amplification. In the case of MYCN amplification, two types were identified. One type displayed simple continuous amplicons; the other type harbored more complex rearrangements. MYCN was the only common gene in all cases with amplification. Complex amplification on chromosome 12 was detected in two tumors and three different overlapping regions of amplification were identified. Two regions with homozygous deletions, four cases with CDKN2A deletions in 9p and one case with deletion on 3p (the gene RBMS3) were also detected in the tumors.
SNP arrays provide useful tools for high-resolution characterization of significant chromosomal rearrangements in neuroblastoma tumors. The mapping arrays from Affymetrix provide both copy number and allele-specific information at a resolution of 10–12 kb. Chromosome 9p, especially the gene CDKN2A, is subject to homozygous (four cases) and heterozygous deletions (five cases) in neuroblastoma tumors.
Neuroblastoma is the most common pediatric solid tumor of the sympathetic nervous system. Development of improved predictive tools for patients stratification is a crucial requirement for neuroblastoma therapy. Several studies utilized gene expression-based signatures to stratify neuroblastoma patients and demonstrated a clear advantage of adding genomic analysis to risk assessment. There is little overlapping among signatures and merging their prognostic potential would be advantageous. Here, we describe a new strategy to merge published neuroblastoma related gene signatures into a single, highly accurate, Multi-Signature Ensemble (MuSE)-classifier of neuroblastoma (NB) patients outcome.
Gene expression profiles of 182 neuroblastoma tumors, subdivided into three independent datasets, were used in the various phases of development and validation of neuroblastoma NB-MuSE-classifier. Thirty three signatures were evaluated for patients' outcome prediction using 22 classification algorithms each and generating 726 classifiers and prediction results. The best-performing algorithm for each signature was selected, validated on an independent dataset and the 20 signatures performing with an accuracy > = 80% were retained.
We combined the 20 predictions associated to the corresponding signatures through the selection of the best performing algorithm into a single outcome predictor. The best performance was obtained by the Decision Table algorithm that produced the NB-MuSE-classifier characterized by an external validation accuracy of 94%. Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank test demonstrated that patients with good and poor outcome prediction by the NB-MuSE-classifier have a significantly different survival (p < 0.0001). Survival curves constructed on subgroups of patients divided on the bases of known prognostic marker suggested an excellent stratification of localized and stage 4s tumors but more data are needed to prove this point.
The NB-MuSE-classifier is based on an ensemble approach that merges twenty heterogeneous, neuroblastoma-related gene signatures to blend their discriminating power, rather than numeric values, into a single, highly accurate patients' outcome predictor. The novelty of our approach derives from the way to integrate the gene expression signatures, by optimally associating them with a single paradigm ultimately integrated into a single classifier. This model can be exported to other types of cancer and to diseases for which dedicated databases exist.
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a key inflammatory cytokine, signalling to most tissues by binding to a soluble IL-6 receptor (sIL-6r), making a complex with gp130. We used 1273 subjects (mean age 68 years) from the InCHIANTI Italian cohort to study common variation in the IL-6r locus and associations with interleukin 6 receptor (IL-6r), IL-6, gp130 and a battery of inflammatory markers. The rs4537545 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) tags the functional non-synonymous Asp358Ala variant (rs8192284) in IL-6r (r2 = 0.89, n = 343). Individuals homozygous for the rs4537545 SNP minor allele (frequency 40%) had a doubling of IL-6r levels (132.48 pg/ml, 95% CI 125.13–140.27) compared to the common allele homozygous group (68.31 pg/ml, 95% CI 65.35–71.41): in per allele regression models, the rs4537545 SNP accounted for 20% of the variance in sIL-6r, with P = 5.1 × 10−62. The minor allele of rs4537545 was also associated with higher circulating IL-6 levels (P = 1.9 × 10−4). There was no association of this variant with serum levels of gp130 or with any of the studied pro- and anti-inflammatory markers. A common variant of the IL-6r gene results in major changes in IL-6r and IL-6 serum levels, but with no apparent effect on gp130 levels or on inflammatory status in the general population.
inflammation; genetics; ageing; epidemiology; interleukins
Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer derived from immature cells of the sympathetic nervous system. The disease is clinically heterogeneous, ranging from neuronal differentiated benign ganglioneuromas to aggressive metastatic tumours with poor prognosis. Amplification of the MYCN oncogene is a well established poor prognostic factor found in up to 40% of high risk neuroblastomas.
Using neuroblastoma cell lines to study neuronal differentiation in vitro is now well established. Several protocols, including exposure to various agents and growth factors, will differentiate neuroblastoma cell lines into neuron-like cells. These cells are characterized by a neuronal morphology with long extensively branched neurites and expression of several neurospecific markers.
In this study we use retrovirally delivered inducible short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) modules to knock down MYCN expression in MYCN-amplified (MNA) neuroblastoma cell lines. By addition of the inducer doxycycline, we show that the Kelly and SK-N-BE(2) neuroblastoma cell lines efficiently differentiate into neuron-like cells with an extensive network of neurites. These cells are further characterized by increased expression of the neuronal differentiation markers NFL and GAP43. In addition, we show that induced expression of retrovirally delivered anti-MYCN shRNA inhibits cell proliferation by increasing the fraction of MNA neuroblastoma cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle and that the clonogenic growth potential of these cells was also dramatically reduced.
We have developed an efficient MYCN-knockdown in vitro model system to study neuronal differentiation in MNA neuroblastomas.
Neuroblastoma is a common pediatric solid tumor that exhibits a striking clinical bipolarity favorable and unfavorable. The survival rate of children with unfavorable neuroblastoma remains low among all childhood cancers. MYCN and MYC play a crucial role in determining the malignancy of unfavorable neuroblastomas, whereas high-level expression of the favorable neuroblastoma genes is associated with a good disease outcome and confers growth suppression of neuroblastoma cells. A small fraction of neuroblastomas harbors TP53 mutations at diagnosis, but a higher proportion of the relapse cases acquire TP53 mutations. In this study, we investigated the effect of S(+)-ibuprofen on neuroblastoma cell lines, focusing on the expression of the MYCN, MYC, AKT, p53 proteins and the favorable neuroblastoma genes in vitro as biomarkers of malignancy. Treatment of neuroblastoma cell lines with S(+)-ibuprofen resulted in a significant growth suppression. This growth effect was accompanied by a marked decrease in the expression of MYC, MYCN, AKT and an increase in p53 expression in neuroblastoma cell lines without TP53 mutation. In addition, S(+)-ibuprofen enhanced the expression of some favorable neuroblastoma genes (EPHB6, CD44) and genes involved in growth suppression and differentiation (EGR1, EPHA2, NRG1 and SEL1L). Gene expression profile and Ingenuity pathway analyses using TP53-mutated SKNAS cells further revealed that S(+)-ibuprofen suppressed molecular pathways associated with cell growth and conversely enhanced those of cell cycle arrest and the unfolded protein response. Collectively, these results suggest that S(+)-ibuprofen or its related compounds may have the potential for therapeutic and/or palliative use for unfavorable neuroblastoma.
neuroblastoma; MYCN; MYC; p53; favorable neuroblastoma genes
Background: This study was to evaluate the relationship between the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) 48892 A/C single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs8192284) and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components among young adolescents in Taiwan. Methods: We enrolled 925 adolescents (451 boys and 474 girls). Modified National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel-III (NCEP ATP-III) criteria were applied to define MetS (with age- and gender-specific 90th percentile cutoff point of variables). Subjects had three or more of the following cardiometabolic abnormalities that occur in MetS: high blood pressure, high fasting glucose, high triglyceride (TG), low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and obesity. The characteristics of the MetS components associated with different alleles and genotypes of the IL-6R rs8192284 SNP were compared. Results: Frequencies of alleles and genotypes of the IL-6R 48892 polymorphism were similar in both sexes. Boys with C-alleles had borderline lower TG levels than A-allele carriers (66.0±30.1 vs. 70.3±34.6 mg/dL, p=0.07). However, girls with C-alleles had higher waist circumference (WC) (68.0±7.9 vs. 67.0±7.7 cm) and lower HDL-C levels (50.7±11.1 vs. 52.2±11.7 g/dL) than A-allele carriers (p=0.05). The prevalence of MetS and its components, high WC and low HDL-C level, were higher in female C-allele carriers (all p<0.05) but not in boys. The odds ratios for high WC, low HDL-C levels, and MetS for female C-allele carriers were 1.54 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01–2.34), 1.49 (95% CI: 1.01–2.18), and 2.19–2.39 (95% CI: 1.15–4.51), respectively, when compared with A-allele carriers. Conclusions: The IL-6R 48892 A/C polymorphism is associated with high TG and WC, and low HDL-C levels in adolescents. Additionally, there is a gender difference in the incidence of MetS, indicating a possible gene–gender interaction of the IL-6R 48892 A/C polymorphism in MetS among Taiwanese adolescents.
Neuroblastoma is a malignancy of the developing sympathetic nervous system that most commonly affects young children and is often lethal. The etiology of this embryonal cancer is not known.
We performed a genome-wide association study by first genotyping 1,032 neuroblastoma patients and 2,043 controls of European descent using the Illumina HumanHap550 BeadChip. Three independent groups of neuroblastoma cases (N=720) and controls (N=2128) were then genotyped to replicate significant associations.
We observed highly significant association between neuroblastoma and the common minor alleles of three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within a 94.2 kilobase (Kb) linkage disequilibrium block at chromosome band 6p22 containing the predicted genes FLJ22536 and FLJ44180 (P-value range = 1.71×10-9-7.01×10-10; allelic odds ratio range 1.39-1.40). Homozygosity for the at-risk G allele of the most significantly associated SNP, rs6939340, resulted in an increased likelihood of developing neuroblastoma of 1.97 (95% CI 1.58-2.44). Subsequent genotyping of these 6p22 SNPs in the three independent case series confirmed our observation of association (P=9.33×10-15 at rs6939340 for joint analysis). Furthermore, neuroblastoma patients homozygous for the risk alleles at 6p22 were more likely to develop metastatic (Stage 4) disease (P=0.02), show amplification of the MYCN oncogene in the tumor cells (P=0.006), and to have disease relapse (P=0.01).
Common genetic variation at chromosome band 6p22 is associated with susceptibility to neuroblastoma.
Aggressive neuroblastoma remains a significant cause of childhood cancer death despite current intensive multimodal treatment protocols. The purpose of the present work was to characterize the genetic and clinical diversity of such tumors by high resolution arrayCGH profiling.
Based on a 32K BAC whole-genome tiling path array and using 50-250K Affymetrix SNP array platforms for verification, DNA copy number profiles were generated for 34 consecutive high-risk or lethal outcome neuroblastomas. In addition, age and MYCN amplification (MNA) status were retrieved for 112 unfavorable neuroblastomas of the Swedish Childhood Cancer Registry, representing a 25-year neuroblastoma cohort of Sweden, here used for validation of the findings. Statistical tests used were: Fisher’s exact test, Bayes moderated t-test, independent samples t-test, and correlation analysis.
MNA or segmental 11q loss (11q-) was found in 28/34 tumors. With two exceptions, these aberrations were mutually exclusive. Children with MNA tumors were diagnosed at significantly younger ages than those with 11q- tumors (mean: 27.4 vs. 69.5 months; p=0.008; n=14/12), and MNA tumors had significantly fewer segmental chromosomal aberrations (mean: 5.5 vs. 12.0; p<0.001). Furthermore, in the 11q- tumor group a positive correlation was seen between the number of segmental aberrations and the age at diagnosis (Pearson Correlation 0.606; p=0.037). Among nonMNA/non11q- tumors (n=6), one tumor displayed amplicons on 11q and 12q and three others bore evidence of progression from low-risk tumors due to retrospective evidence of disease six years before diagnosis, or due to tumor profiles with high proportions of numerical chromosomal aberrations. An early age at diagnosis of MNA neuroblastomas was verified by registry data, with an average of 29.2 months for 43 cases that were not included in the present study.
MNA and segmental 11q loss define two major genetic variants of unfavorable neuroblastoma with apparent differences in their pace of tumor evolution and in genomic integrity. Other possible, but less common, routes in the development of aggressive tumors are progression of low-risk infant-type lesions, and gene amplifications other than MYCN. Knowledge on such nosological diversity of aggressive neuroblastoma might influence future strategies for therapy.
High-risk; Unfavorable; Neuroblastoma; Arraycgh; DNA copy number; Gain; Loss; Amplification; Age
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of nonprogressive disorders of movement and posture caused by abnormal development of, or damage to, motor control centers of the brain. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs1800795, in the promoter region of the interleukin-6 (IL6) gene has been implicated in the pathogenesis of CP by mediating IL-6 protein levels in amniotic fluid and cord plasma and within brain lesions. This SNP has been associated with other neurological, vascular, and malignant processes as well, often as part of a haplotype block.
To refine the regional genetic association with CP, we sequenced (Sanger) the IL6 gene and part of the promoter region in 250 infants with CP and 305 controls.
We identified a haplotype of 7 SNPs that includes rs1800795. In a recessive model of inheritance, the variant haplotype conferred greater risk (OR = 4.3, CI = [2.0-10.1], p = 0.00007) than did the lone variant at rs1800795 (OR = 2.5, CI = [1.4-4.6], p = 0.002). The risk haplotype contains one SNP (rs2069845, CI = [1.2-4.3], OR = 2.3, p = 0.009) that disrupts a methylation site.
The risk haplotype identified in this study overlaps with previously identified haplotypes that include additional promoter SNPs. A risk haplotype at the IL6 gene likely confers risk to CP, and perhaps other diseases, via a multi-factorial mechanism.
Cerebral palsy; Sanger sequencing; IL-6; Interleukin-6; Haplotype
Neuroblastoma is a childhood malignancy of the sympathetic nervous system. The tumor exhibits two different phenotypes: favorable and unfavorable. MYCN amplification is associated with rapid tumor progression and the worst neuroblastoma disease outcome. We have previously reported that inhibitors of histone deacetylase (HDAC) and proteasome enhance favorable neuroblastoma gene expression in neuroblastoma cell lines and inhibit growth of these cells. In this study, we investigated the effect of Trichostatin A or TSA (an HDAC inhibitor), and Epoxomycin (a proteasome inhibitor) on MYCN and p53 expression in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells. It was found that TSA down-regulated MYCN expression, but Epoxomycin and the TSA/Epoxomycin combination led to MYCN hyper-expression in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell lines. Despite their contrasting effects on MYCN expression, TSA and Epoxomycin caused growth suppression and cell death of the MYCN-amplified cell lines examined. Consistent with these data, forced hyper-expression of MYCN in MYCN-amplified IMR5 cells via transfection resulted in growth suppression and the increased expression of several genes known to suppress growth or induce cell death. Furthermore, Epoxomycin as a single agent and its combination with TSA enhance p53 expression in the MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell lines. Unexpectedly, co-transfection of TP53 and MYCN in IMR5 cells resulted in high p53 expression but a reduction of MYCN expression. Together our data suggest that either down regulation or hyper-expression of MYCN results in growth inhibition and/or apoptosis of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells. In addition, elevated p53 expression has a suppressive effect on MYCN expression in these cells.
neuroblastoma; MYCN; p53
Neuroblastoma remains responsible for a disproportionate amount of childhood cancer morbidity and mortality despite recent significant advances in understanding the genetic basis of tumor initiation and progression. About half of newly diagnosed patients can be reliably identified as having tumors of low malignant potential, and these children have cure rates of greater than 95% with little or no cytotoxic therapy. On the other hand, the other half of neuroblastomas typically present in an explosive fashion with widely metastatic disease, and reliable tumor-specific biomarkers have been defined for this phenotype as well. Empiric approaches to high-risk neuroblastoma therapy have relied on dramatic escalation of chemotherapy dose intensity, and recently the incorporation of targeted immunotherapy, but nearly 50% of children with high-risk disease will be refractory to therapy or suffer a relapse, both of which are invariably fatal. Future improvements in high-risk neuroblastoma outcomes will require the identification of disease and patient-specific oncogenic vulnerabilities that can be leveraged therapeutically. Rational development of novel approaches to neuroblastoma therapy requires forward-thinking strategies to unequivocally prove activity in the relapse setting, and ultimately efficacy in curing patients when integrated into frontline treatment plans.
Fatigue is a common and distressing side effect of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer. The goal of the current study was to examine the relationship between changes in fatigue following initiation of ADT and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in three pro-inflammatory cytokine genes: interleukin-1 beta (IL1B), interleukin-6 (IL6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFA).
As part of a larger study, men with prostate cancer (n=53) were recruited prior to initiation of ADT. Fatigue was assessed at recruitment and six months after initiation of ADT. DNA was extracted from blood drawn at baseline.
Patients with the IL6-174 (rs1800795) G/C or C/C genotype displayed greater increases in fatigue intrusiveness, frequency, and duration than the G/G genotype (p values≤0.05), although inclusion of age, race, and baseline depressive symptomatology in the model attenuated these relationships (p values≤0.09). Patients with the TNFA-308 (rs1800629) G/A genotype showed greater increases in fatigue severity than the G/G genotype (p=0.02). IL1B-511 (rs16944) genotype did not significantly predict changes in fatigue (p values>0.46). Patients with higher numbers of variants displayed greater increases in fatigue duration and interference (p values≤0.02) than patients with lower numbers of variants.
Prostate cancer patients treated with ADT who carry variant alleles of the IL6 and TNFA genes are susceptible to heightened fatigue. These preliminary data lend support for the role of genetic variation in the development of cancer-related fatigue secondary to ADT. Findings are relevant to attempts to develop personalized approaches to cancer treatment.
prostatic neoplasms; fatigue; polymorphism; single nucleotide
Neuroblastoma is a malignant neoplasm of the developing sympathetic nervous system that is notable for its phenotypic diversity. High-risk patients typically have widely disseminated disease at diagnosis and a poor survival probability, but low-risk patients frequently have localized tumors that are almost always cured with little or no chemotherapy. Our genome-wide association study (GWAS) has identified common variants within FLJ22536, BARD1, and LMO1 as significantly associated with neuroblastoma and more robustly associated with high-risk disease. Here we show that a GWAS focused on low-risk cases identified SNPs within DUSP12 at 1q23.3 (P = 2.07×10−6), DDX4 and IL31RA both at 5q11.2 (P = 2.94×10−6 and 6.54×10−7 respectively), and HSD17B12 at 11p11.2 (P = 4.20×10−7) as being associated with the less aggressive form of the disease. These data demonstrate the importance of robust phenotypic data in GWAS analyses and identify additional susceptibility variants for neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumor outside the central nervous system and is accountable for 10% of the mortality rate of all children's cancers. It has distinctive clinical behaviors and is categorized into different risk groups: high-risk, intermediate-risk, and low-risk. Genome-wide association studies have reported a number of genetic variations predisposing to high-risk neuroblastoma. This study focuses on the low-risk neuroblastoma group and identifies four novel genes (DUSP12, DDX4, IL31RA, and HSD17B12) at three distinct genomic positions that harbor disease-causing variants. This study also reports several gene sets that are enriched in overall neuroblastoma as well as in both high-risk and low-risk groups. Also of importance is that this study adopts a new computational method that identifies genes, instead of only one single nucleotide polymorphism, as disease-causing variants. Shown to have superior power of detection genome-wide association signals for neuroblastoma, the methodology presented in this study has great potential applications in case-control association studies in other diseases.
Neuroblastoma, an embryonal tumor of the peripheral sympathetic nervous system, accounts for approximately 15% of all deaths due to childhood cancer1. High-risk neuroblastomas, prevalent in the majority of patients, are rapidly progressive; even with intensive myeloablative chemotherapy, relapse is common and almost uniformly fatal2,3. Here we report the detection of previously unknown mutations in the ALK gene, which encodes a receptor tyrosine kinase, in 8% of primary neuroblastomas. Five non-synonymous sequence variations were identified in the kinase domain of ALK, of which three were somatic and two were germline. The most frequent mutation, F1174L, was also identified in three different neuroblastoma cell lines. ALK cDNAs encoding the F1174L and R1275Q variants, but not the wild-type ALK cDNA, transformed IL-3-dependent murine hematopoietic Ba/F3 cells to cytokine-independent growth. Ba/F3 cells expressing these mutations were sensitive to a small-molecule inhibitor of ALK, TAE6844. Furthermore, two human neuroblastoma cell lines harboring the F1174L mutation were sensitive to the inhibitor. Cytotoxicity was associated with increased levels of apoptosis as measured by TUNEL-labeling. shRNA-mediated knockdown of ALK expression in neuroblastoma cell lines with the F1174L mutation also resulted in apoptosis and impaired cell proliferation. Thus, activating alleles of the ALK receptor tyrosine kinase are present in primary neuroblastoma tumors and in established neuroblastoma cell lines, and confer sensitivity to ALK inhibition with small molecules, providing a molecular rationale for targeted therapy of this disease.
Neuroblastoma is a heterogeneous disease; tumors can spontaneously regress or mature, or display an aggressive, therapy-resistant phenotype. Increasing evidence indicates that the biologic and molecular features of neuroblastoma significantly influence and are highly predictive of clinical behavior. Because of this, neuroblastoma has served as a paradigm for biological risk assessment and treatment assignment. Most current clinical studies of neuroblastoma base therapy and its intensity on a risk stratification that takes into account both clinical and biologic variables predictive of relapse. For example, surgery alone offers definitive therapy with excellent outcome for patients with low-risk disease, while patients at high-risk for disease relapse are treated with intensive multimodality therapy. In this review recent advances in the understanding of the molecular genetic events involved in neuroblastoma pathogenesis are discussed, and how they are impacting the current risk stratification and providing potential targets for new therapeutic approaches for children with neuroblastoma. In addition, the results of significant recent clinical trials for the treatment of neuroblastoma are reviewed.
neuroblastoma; neuroblastic tumors; risk factors; immunotherapy; targeted therapy
Inflammation appears to play a key role in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study we examine factors involved in the regulation of inflammation and risk of CRC. Data from a multi-center case–control study of colon (N = 1579 cases and N = 1977 controls) and rectal (N = 794 cases and N = 1005 controls) cancer were used to evaluate the association between the rs1800795 and rs1800796 IL6 polymorphisms and CRC. We evaluated the joint effects of IL6 single nucleotide polymorphisms and regular use of aspirin/NSAIDs and vitamin D receptor (VDR) genotype. Having a C allele of the rs1800796 IL6 polymorphisms and the GG genotype of the rs1800795 IL6 polymorphisms was associated with a statistically significantly reduced the risk of colon (OR 0.76 95% CI 0.57, 1.00), but not rectal (OR 1.49 95% CI 1.02,2.16) cancer. Both IL6 polymorphisms were associated with significant interaction with current use of aspirin/NSAIDs to alter risk of colon cancer: individuals with a C allele in either polymorphism who were current users of aspirin/NSAIDs had the lowest colon cancer risk. CRC risk also was associated with an interaction between VDR and IL6 genotypes that was modified by current use of aspirin/NSAIDs. This study provides further support for inflammation-related factors in the etiology of CRC. Other studies are needed to explore other genes in this and other inflammation-related pathways.
Aspirin; Colon cancer; IL6; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; Rectal cancer; VDR
Common copy number variations (CNVs) represent a significant source of genetic diversity, yet their influence on phenotypic variability, including disease susceptibility, remains poorly understood. To address this problem in cancer, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of CNVs in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma, a disease where SNP variations are known to influence susceptibility1,2. We first genotyped 846 Caucasian neuroblastoma patients and 803 healthy Caucasian controls at 550,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms, and performed a CNV-based test for association. We then replicated significant observations in two independent sample sets comprised of a total of 595 cases and 3,357 controls. We identified a common CNV at 1q21.1 associated with neuroblastoma in the discovery set, which was confirmed in both replication sets (Pcombined = 2.97 × 10−17; OR = 2.49, 95% CI: 2.02 to 3.05). This CNV was validated by quantitative PCR, fluorescent in situ hybridization, and analysis of matched tumor specimens, and was shown to be heritable in an independent set of 713 cancer-free trios. We identified a novel transcript within the CNV which showed high sequence similarity to several “Neuroblastoma breakpoint family” (NBPF) genes3,4 and represents a new member of this gene family (NBPFX). This transcript was preferentially expressed in fetal brain and fetal sympathetic nervous tissues, and expression level was strictly correlated with CNV state in neuroblastoma cells. These data demonstrate that inherited copy number variation at 1q21.1 is associated with neuroblastoma and implicate a novel NBPF gene in early tumorigenesis of this childhood cancer.
Currently, patients with neuroblastoma are classified into risk groups (e.g., according to the Children’s Oncology Group risk-stratification) to guide physicians in the choice of the most appropriate therapy. Despite this careful stratification, the survival rate for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma remains <30%, and it is not possible to predict which of these high-risk patients will survive or succumb to the disease. Therefore, we have performed gene expression profiling using cDNA microarrays containing 42,578 clones and used artificial neural networks to develop an accurate predictor of survival for each individual patient with neuroblastoma. Using principal component analysis we found that neuroblastoma tumors exhibited inherent prognostic specific gene expression profiles. Subsequent artificial neural network-based prognosis prediction using expression levels of all 37,920 good-quality clones achieved 88% accuracy. Moreover, using an artificial neural network-based gene minimization strategy in a separate analysis we identified 19 genes, including 2 prognostic markers reported previously, MYCN and CD44, which correctly predicted outcome for 98% of these patients. In addition, these 19 predictor genes were able to additionally partition Children’s Oncology Group-stratified high-risk patients into two subgroups according to their survival status (P = 0.0005). Our findings provide evidence of a gene expression signature that can predict prognosis independent of currently known risk factors and could assist physicians in the individual management of patients with high-risk neuroblastoma.
During normal sympathetic nervous system (SNS) development, cells of the ganglionic lineage can malignantly transform and develop into the childhood tumor neuroblastoma. Hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIFs) mediate cellular responses during normal development and are central in the adaptation to oxygen shortage. HIFs are also implicated in the progression of several cancer forms, and high HIF-2α expression correlates with disseminated disease and poor outcome in neuroblastoma. During normal SNS development, HIF2A is transiently expressed in neuroblasts and chromaffin cells. SNS cells can, during development, be distinguished by distinct gene expression patterns, and insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) is a marker of sympathetic chromaffin cells, whereas sympathetic neuroblasts lack IGF2 expression. Despite the neuronal derivation of neuroblastomas, we show that neuroblastoma cell lines and specimens express IGF2 and that expression of HIF2A and IGF2 correlates, with the strongest correlation in high-stage tumors. In neuroblastoma, both IGF2 and HIF2A are hypoxia-driven and knocking down IGF2 at hypoxia resulted in downregulated HIF2A levels. HIF-2α and IGF2 were strongly expressed in subsets of immature neuroblastoma cells, suggesting that these two genes could be co-expressed also at early stages of SNS development. We show that IGF2 is indeed expressed in sympathetic chain ganglia at embryonic week 6.5, a developmental stage when HIF-2α is present. These findings provide a rationale for the unexpected IGF2 expression in neuroblastomas and might suggest that IGF2 and HIF2A positive neuroblastoma cells are arrested at an embryonic differentiation stage corresponding to the stage when sympathetic chain ganglia begins to coalesce.
Neuroblastoma is a pediatric solid tumor that exhibits striking clinical bipolarity. Despite extensive efforts to treat unfavorable neuroblastoma, survival rate of children with the disease is among the lowest. Previous studies suggest that EPHA2, a member of the EPH family receptor kinases, can either promote or suppress cancer cell growth depending on cellular contexts. In this study, we investigated the biological significance of EPHA2 in neuroblastoma. It was found that tumorigenic N-type neuroblastoma cell lines expressed low levels of EPHA2, whereas hypo-tumorigenic S-type neuroblastoma cell lines expressed high levels of EPHA2 (p<0.005). Notably, inhibitors of DNA methylation and histone deacetylase enhanced EPHA2 expression in N-type cells, suggesting that EPHA2 is epigenetically silenced in unfavorable neuroblastoma cells. Furthermore, ectopic high-level expression of EPHA2 in N-type neuroblastoma cell lines resulted in significant growth suppression. However, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that high EPHA2 expression was not associated with a good disease outcome of neuroblastoma, indicating that EPHA2 is not a favorable neuroblastoma gene, but a growth suppressive gene for neuroblastoma. Accordingly, EPHA2 expression was markedly augmented in vitro in neuroblastoma cells treated with doxorubicin, which is commonly used for treating unfavorable neuroblastoma. Taken together, EPHA2 is one of the effectors of chemotherapeutic agents (e.g., gene silencing inhibitors and DNA damaging agents). EPHA2 expression may thus serve as a biomarker of drug responsiveness for neuroblastoma during the course of chemotherapy. In addition, pharmaceutical enhancement of EPHA2 by non-cytotoxic agents may offer an effective therapeutic approach in the treatment of children with unfavorable neuroblastoma.
neuroblastoma; favorable neuroblastoma genes; drug responsiveness; biomarkers
Genetic analysis in neuroblastoma has identified the profound influence of MYCN amplification and 11q deletion in patients’ prognosis. These two features of high-risk neuroblastoma usually occur as mutually exclusive genetic markers, although in rare cases both are present in the same tumor. The purpose of this study was to characterize the genetic profile of these uncommon neuroblastomas harboring both these high-risk features.
We selected 18 neuroblastomas with MNA plus 11q loss detected by FISH. Chromosomal aberrations were analyzed using Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism array techniques.
Results and Conclusion
This group of tumors has approximately the same high frequency of aberrations as found earlier for 11q deleted tumors. In some cases, DNA instability generates genetic heterogeneity, and must be taken into account in routine genetic diagnosis.
Neuroblastoma is a childhood malignancy of sympathetic embryonal origin. A high potential for differentiation is a hallmark of neuroblastoma cells. We have previously presented data to suggest that in situ differentiation in tumors frequently proceeds along the chromaffin lineage and that decreased oxygen (hypoxia) plays a role in this. Here we explore the utility of Neuro-Endocrine Secretory Protein 55 (NESP55), a novel member of the chromogranin family, as a marker for this process.
Immunohistochemical analyses and in situ hybridizations were performed on human fetal tissues, mouse xenografts of human neuroblastoma cell lines, and on specimens of human neuroblastoma/ganglioneuroma. Effects of anaerobic exposure on gene expression by cultured neuroblastoma cells was analyzed with quantitative real-time PCR. Fetal sympathetic nervous system expression of NESP55 was shown to be specific for chromaffin cell types. In experimental and clinical neuroblastoma NESP55 immunoreactivity was specific for regions of chronic hypoxia. NESP55 expression also correlated strikingly with morphological evidence of differentiation and with other chromaffin-specific patterns of gene expression, including IGF2 and HIF2α. Anaerobic culture of five neuroblastoma cell lines resulted in an 18.9-fold mean up-regulation of NESP55.
The data confirms that chronic tumor hypoxia is a key microenvironmental factor for neuroblastoma cell differentiation, causing induction of chromaffin features and NESP55 provides a reliable marker for this neuronal to neuroendocrine transition. The hypoxia-induced phenotype is the predominant form of differentiation in stroma-poor tumors, while in stroma-rich tumors the chromaffin phenotype coexists with ganglion cell-like differentiation. The findings provide new insights into the biological diversity which is a striking feature of this group of tumors.