Genetic abnormalities in adolescents and young adults with neuroblastoma: A report from the Italian Neuroblastoma group

Katia Mazzocco, Raffaella Defferrari, Angela Rita Sementa, Alberto Garaventa, Luca Longo, Marilena De Mariano, Maria Rosaria Esposito, Francesca Negri, Davide Ircolò, Elisabetta Viscardi, Roberto Luksch, Paolo D'Angelo, Arcangelo Prete, Aurora Castellano, Paolo Massirio, Giovanni Erminio, Anna Rita Gigliotti, Gian Paolo Tonini, Massimo Conte

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Background: Less than 5% of neuroblastomas (NB) occur in adolescents and young adults (AYA), in whom the disease has an indolent and fatal course. Procedure: We studied the genomic profile and histological characteristics of 34 NBs from AYA patients enrolled in the Italian Neuroblastoma Registry (INBR) between 1979 and 2009. Results: Disease was disseminated in 20 patients and localized in 14; 30/34 tumors were classified as NB and 4/34 as nodular ganglioneuroblastoma (nGNB). Segmental Chromosome Aberrations (SCAs) were observed in 29 tumors (85%) namely 1p imbalance (58%), 17q gain (52%), 9p loss (32%), 11q loss (30%), 1q gain (17%), 7q gain (17%), 2p gain (14%), 3p loss (14%), and 4p loss (7%). MYCN amplification and MYCN gain were detected in 3 (10%) and 2 cases (7%) respectively. An anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase (ALK) gene mutation study on the available cases from this cohort revealed 4/25 (16%) mutated cases. In parallel, alpha thalassaemia/mental retardation syndrome X linked (ATRX) gene mutations were also sought, a novel mutation being detected in 1/21 (4,7%) cases. Conclusion: This study confirmed the low incidence of MYCN amplification in AYA and recorded a high frequency of 17q gain and 9p and 11q loss independently from the stage of the disease. The presence of 1q gain, which identifies patients with particularly aggressive disease, relapse and poor survival, was also detected. Furthermore, the frequency of ALK mutations suggests that a target-based therapy with ALK inhibitors might be effective in this subset of patients. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2015;62:1725-1732.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1725-1732
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Adolescents
  • ATRX
  • Genetics
  • Neuroblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Medicine(all)


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