Origins of neuroblastoma
August 24, 2015 | Leigh MacMillan
Neuroblastoma – a pediatric cancer of the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) nerve ganglia and adrenal glands – is thought to originate from the cells that give rise to the developing sympathetic nervous system. Amplification of the MYCN oncogene is associated with risk in this disease, but its role in the early steps of neuroblastoma initiation is unclear.
They confirmed that the cells are multipotent, capable of generating multiple cell types. MYCN overexpression in SAPs shifted their maturation toward neurons and increased both proliferation and cell death, supporting the hypothesis that SAPs are the cells of origin for neuroblastoma. However, MYCN overexpression was not sufficient for the cells to form tumors in mice, suggesting that additional mutations are necessary for tumorigenesis.
The study, reported July 29 in PLOS ONE, presents an in vitro model system for exploring neuroblastoma initiation and progression.