Research In Neuroblastoma May Lead To Improved Estimates


One of the new neuroblastoma studies has gone on to identify the new subgroups having distinct prognoses as well as vulnerabilities to therapies.

Researchers have gone on to identify new variations when it comes to neuroblastoma that could go on to lead to a more precise prognosis as well as better-targeted treatments.

The study has gone on to reveal the three new subgroups of the most common kinds of neuroblastoma, each having varied genetic traits, anticipated outcomes, and distinguishing traits that go on to offer insights into the most effective treatments.

The University of Southampton’s Dr. Yihua Wang, who is a senior author on the paper, opined that this research goes on to represent a pivotal advancement in their understanding of MYCN non-amplified neuroblastomas, and the fact is that the results happen to be striking.

Such types of neuroblastomas can be classified into three unique subgroups, each giving out a unique prognostic implication as well as varying vulnerabilities pertaining to investigational therapies.

Neuroblastoma: An Introduction

Almost 100 children happen to be diagnosed with neuroblastoma every year in the UK.

It happens to be a type of cancer that begins in a type of nerve cell named a neuroblast.

Neuroblastoma can go on to be present in the abdomen, chest, neck, or even the pelvis region and can, as a matter of fact, spread across other parts of the body.

The entire prognosis of the disease happens to be quite poor, with 20% of the patients still alive five years after the diagnosis.

The fact is that the likelihood of cancer being cured varies quite broadly, as some tumors spontaneously regress while there are others are resistant to therapy.

One of the major indicators of the risk is the amplification of a gene named MYCN, where tumors happen to be having too many of this type of gene.

This happens to be in around 20% of the cases and accounts for almost 40% of the high-risk neuroblastomas.

Rising understanding of diversity of outcomes

The University of Southampton team and China wanted to pry out more pertaining to the cases where the MYCN gene is not amplified to comprehend the diversity when it comes to the outcomes within such cases.

The team made use of advanced analytical techniques in order to analyze more than 1,500 biopsy samples across 16 different datasets, which were sourced from Gene Expression Omnibus as well as ArrayExpress.

Due to this, they went ahead and identified three distinct subtypes of such kind of MYCN non-amplified cases based on their transcriptional signatures.


Apparently, the first subgroup comprises almost half of MYCN non-amplified cases and happens to have the best prognosis. This group had a long-term survival rate of more than 85%, in spite of some cases being clinically classified as high-risk.

Subgroup 2 comprised a quarter of cases sans the MYCN amplification, and exhibited the poorest outcomes, having a long-term survival rate of 50%. Interestingly, such a subgroup shared a genetic profile that was akin to the cases having MYCN amplification.

It is worth noting that the researchers identified enhanced expression levels of the Aurora Kinase A- AURKA protein, which are prominently higher as compared to other subgroups. Subsequent examinations went on to reveal that AURKA mRNA levels alone can very well serve as a predictor of complete survival, which itself kind of suggests potential benefits pertaining to AURKA inhibitor treatment for the patients within this subgroup.

In contrast, the Subgroup 3, that went on to constitute yet another quarter of MYCN non-amplified cases, displayed an inflamed gene signature which gets characterized by heightened activity within the immune cells.

More analysis on this suggests that patients in this subgroup may go on to exhibit elevated responsiveness to the immunotherapy.

A new alternative for neuroblastoma treatment

Dr.Wang went on to conclude that the research opens new kinds of avenues for personalized medicine when it comes to the treatment of neuroblastomas.

Through leveraging transcriptional subtyping, they happen to be now equipped to go ahead and provide more precise prognosis as well as customized therapies according to patients having MYCN non-amplified neuroblastomas, thereby in a way improving outcomes as well as the quality of life.