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1.  Segmental chromosomal alterations have prognostic impact in neuroblastoma: a report from the INRG project 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;107(8):1418-1422.
In the INRG dataset, the hypothesis that any segmental chromosomal alteration might be of prognostic impact in neuroblastoma without MYCN amplification (MNA) was tested.
The presence of any segmental chromosomal alteration (chromosome 1p deletion, 11q deletion and/or chromosome 17q gain) defined a segmental genomic profile. Only tumours with a confirmed unaltered status for all three chromosome arms were considered as having no segmental chromosomal alterations.
Among the 8800 patients in the INRG database, a genomic type could be attributed for 505 patients without MNA: 397 cases had a segmental genomic type, whereas 108 cases had an absence of any segmental alteration. A segmental genomic type was more frequent in patients >18 months and in stage 4 disease (P<0.0001). In univariate analysis, 11q deletion, 17q gain and a segmental genomic type were associated with a poorer event-free survival (EFS) (P<0.0001, P=0.0002 and P<0.0001, respectively). In multivariate analysis modelling EFS, the parameters age, stage and a segmental genomic type were retained in the model, whereas the individual genetic markers were not (P<0.0001 and RR=2.56; P=0.0002 and RR=1.8; P=0.01 and RR=1.7, respectively).
A segmental genomic profile, rather than the single genetic markers, adds prognostic information to the clinical markers age and stage in neuroblastoma patients without MNA, underlining the importance of pangenomic studies.
PMCID: PMC3494425  PMID: 22976801
neuroblastoma; genetic alterations; genomic profile; prognosis; INRG
2.  Segmental chromosomal alterations lead to a higher risk of relapse in infants with MYCN-non-amplified localised unresectable/disseminated neuroblastoma (a SIOPEN collaborative study) 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;105(12):1940-1948.
In neuroblastoma (NB), the presence of segmental chromosome alterations (SCAs) is associated with a higher risk of relapse.
In order to analyse the role of SCAs in infants with localised unresectable/disseminated NB without MYCN amplification, we have performed an array CGH analysis of tumours from infants enroled in the prospective European INES trials.
Tumour samples from 218 out of 300 enroled patients could be analysed. Segmental chromosome alterations were observed in 11%, 20% and 59% of infants enroled in trials INES99.1 (localised unresectable NB), INES99.2 (stage 4s) and INES99.3 (stage 4) (P<0.0001). Progression-free survival was poorer in patients whose tumours harboured SCA, in the whole population and in trials INES99.1 and INES99.2, in the absence of clinical symptoms (log-rank test, P=0.0001, P=0.04 and P=0.0003, respectively). In multivariate analysis, a SCA genomic profile was the strongest predictor of poorer progression-free survival.
In infants with stage 4s MYCN-non-amplified NB, a SCA genomic profile identifies patients who will require upfront treatment even in the absence of other clinical indication for therapy, whereas in infants with localised unresectable NB, a genomic profile characterised by the absence of SCA identifies patients in whom treatment reduction might be possible. These findings will be implemented in a future international trial.
PMCID: PMC3251887  PMID: 22146831
neuroblastoma; infants; genomic profile; segmental chromosome alterations; prognosis
3.  International consensus for neuroblastoma molecular diagnostics: report from the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) Biology Committee 
British Journal of Cancer  2009;100(9):1471-1482.
Neuroblastoma serves as a paradigm for utilising tumour genomic data for determining patient prognosis and treatment allocation. However, before the establishment of the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) Task Force in 2004, international consensus on markers, methodology, and data interpretation did not exist, compromising the reliability of decisive genetic markers and inhibiting translational research efforts. The objectives of the INRG Biology Committee were to identify highly prognostic genetic aberrations to be included in the new INRG risk classification schema and to develop precise definitions, decisive biomarkers, and technique standardisation. The review of the INRG database (n=8800 patients) by the INRG Task Force finally enabled the identification of the most significant neuroblastoma biomarkers. In addition, the Biology Committee compared the standard operating procedures of different cooperative groups to arrive at international consensus for methodology, nomenclature, and future directions. Consensus was reached to include MYCN status, 11q23 allelic status, and ploidy in the INRG classification system on the basis of an evidence-based review of the INRG database. Standardised operating procedures for analysing these genetic factors were adopted, and criteria for proper nomenclature were developed. Neuroblastoma treatment planning is highly dependant on tumour cell genomic features, and it is likely that a comprehensive panel of DNA-based biomarkers will be used in future risk assignment algorithms applying genome-wide techniques. Consensus on methodology and interpretation is essential for uniform INRG classification and will greatly facilitate international and cooperative clinical and translational research studies.
PMCID: PMC2694415  PMID: 19401703
neuroblastoma; treatment planning; genomic; translational; international consensus; INRG; genetic risk factors
4.  Chromosomal CGH identifies patients with a higher risk of relapse in neuroblastoma without MYCN amplification 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;97(2):238-246.
Whereas neuroblastoma (NB) with MYCN amplification presents a poor prognosis, no single marker allows to reliably predict outcome in tumours without MYCN amplification. We report here an extensive analysis of 147 NB samples at diagnosis, without MYCN amplification, by chromosomal comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH), providing a comprehensive overview of their genomic imbalances. Comparative genomic hybridisation profiles showed gains or losses of entire chromosomes (type 1) in 71 cases, whereas partial chromosome gains or losses (type 2), including gain involving 17q were observed in 68 cases. Atypical profiles were present in eight cases. A type 1 profile was observed more frequently in localised disease (P<0.0001), and in patients of less than 12 months at diagnosis (P<0.0001). A type 2 genomic profile was associated with a higher risk of relapse in the overall population (log-rank test; P<0.0001), but also in the subgroup of patients with localised disease (log-rank test, P=0.007). In multivariate analysis, the genomic profile was the strongest independent prognostic factor. In conclusion, the genomic profile is of prognostic impact in patients without MYCN amplification, making it a help in the management of low-stage NB. Further studies using higher-resolution CGH are needed to better characterise atypical genomic alterations.
PMCID: PMC2360301  PMID: 17579628
neuroblastoma; pangenomic analysis; CGH; prognosis
5.  Incidence and prognostic value of tumour cells detected by RT–PCR in peripheral blood stem cell collections from patients with Ewing tumour 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;95(10):1326-1333.
To retrospectively evaluate the incidence of tumour cell contamination of peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collections and to correlate these data with the clinical outcome after high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) with stem cell rescue in patients with a high-risk Ewing tumour. Peripheral blood stem cell collections obtained from 171 patients were analysed. Tumour contamination was assessed by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR). The files of 88 patients who underwent HDCT followed by PBSC reinfusion were reviewed in detail, and their outcome compared to the PBSC RT–PCR results. Seven of 88 PBSC collections (8%) contained tumour cells as detected by RT–PCR. Peripheral blood stem cells were collected after a median of five cycles of chemotherapy. No clinical factor predictive of tumour cell contamination of PBSC harvest could be identified. Event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) of the whole study population were 45.3 % and 51.8 % at 3 years from the date of the graft, respectively. Forty-five patients relapsed with a median time of 15 months after graft, only four of whom had tumour cell contamination of the PBSC harvest. Tumour cell contamination of PBSC collection is rare and does not seem to be associated with a significantly poorer EFS or OS in this high-risk population.
PMCID: PMC2360590  PMID: 17088915
ewing tumour; PBSC; tumour cell contamination; RT–PCR; outcome
6.  Treatment of stage 4s neuroblastoma – report of 10 years' experience of the French Society of Paediatric Oncology (SFOP) 
British Journal of Cancer  2003;89(3):470-476.
PMCID: PMC2394373  PMID: 12888814
neuroblastoma; stage 4s; prognosis; treatment

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