Neuroblastoma is a heterogeneous tumour with a variety of clinical phenotypes, ranging from a localised tumour with excellent outcome (stage 1) to a metastatic, usually fatal malignancy (stage 4). In order to investigate the genetic relationship between these tumour subtypes, a loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis was carried out. Composite LOH allelotypes incorporating data from 96 loci on 5 chromosomes (1p, 3p, 4p, 11q, 14q), were constructed for 62 neuroblastomas. Neuroblastomas with similar allelotypes were clustered into groups and allelotype patterns correlated with clinical features. Three distinct genetic subgroups of neuroblastoma were observed. The largest group (50% of tumours) was characterised by specific allelotype patterns indicative of a stepwise accumulation of genetic alterations (11q LOH → 1p, 4p, and/or 14q LOH → 3p LOH), associated with progression from low to high stage disease. These tumours are distinct from MYCN amplified neuroblastomas which have a more rapid and aggressive disease course, and also a proportion of low stage tumours, often ganglioneuromas or ganglioneuroblastomas, with restricted growth potential.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by research grants from SPARKS (CMM, SAC), the United Birmingham Hospitals’ Endowment Fund (CMM, TG) and the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Research Fund of the Birmingham Children’s Hospital (CMM).
- Chromosome 11