Hypoxia predicts poor prognosis in neuroblastoma patients and associates with biological mechanisms involved in telomerase activation and tumor microenvironment reprogramming

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Abstract

The biological and clinical heterogeneity of neuroblastoma (NB) demands novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets in order to drive the most appropriate treatment for each patient. Hypoxia is a condition of low-oxygen tension occurring in poorly vascularized tumor tissues. In this study, we aimed to assess the role of hypoxia in the pathogenesis of NB and at developing a new clinically relevant hypoxia-based predictor of outcome. We analyzed the gene expression profiles of 1882 untreated NB primary tumors collected at diagnosis and belonging to four existing data sets. Analyses took advantage of machine learning methods. We identified NB-hop, a seven-gene hypoxia biomarker, as a predictor of NB patient prognosis, which is able to discriminate between two populations of patients with unfavorable or favorable outcome on a molecular basis. NB-hop retained its prognostic value in a multivariate model adjusted for established risk factors and was able to additionally stratify clinically relevant groups of patients. Tumors with an unfavorable NB-hop expression showed a significant association with telomerase activation and a hypoxic, immunosuppressive, poorly differentiated, and apoptosis-resistant tumor microenvironment. NB-hop defines a new population of NB patients with hypoxic tumors and unfavorable prognosis and it represents a critical factor for the stratification and treatment of NB patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2343
Pages (from-to)1-45
Number of pages45
JournalCancers
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Cell immortalization
  • Hypoxia
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Prognosis
  • Therapeutic target

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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