Gene Profile Predicts Neuroblastoma Outcomes

Tumor signature identifies children with the highest and lowest chances of long-term survival

FRIDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In children with clinically indistinguishable high-risk, metastatic neuroblastomas, a 55-gene expression profile of tumors obtained at diagnosis may help physicians identify patients with the highest and lowest odds of long-term survival, according to a study published in the Sept. 6 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Robert Seeger, M.D., of the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and colleagues studied gene expression in 102 untreated metastatic neuroblastomas that did not have multiple copies of the MYCN gene, and created a gene expression profile for patients diagnosed between ages 12 months to 18 months and after age 18 months.

The investigators found that the profile model defined a tumor signature that distinguished two groups of patients from among those older than 12 months at diagnosis as having progression-free survival rates of 16 percent and 79 percent. They also found that the tumor signature identified two groups of patients from among patients who were older than 18 months at diagnosis as having progression-free survival rates of 15 percent and 69 percent.

"Molecular risk classification at diagnosis may ultimately improve risk stratification for patients who are older than 12 months at diagnosis and is especially important for patients who are older than 18 months at diagnosis because their outcomes currently cannot be estimated by any other means," the authors conclude.

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