The MYCN oncogene encodes a phosphoprotein that acts as a transcription factor and is involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation in normal as well as in cancer cells. MYCN amplification and expression have been reported in various tumours, including neuroblastoma and lung cancer, but little is known about its expression in human rhabdomyosarcoma. MYCN expression and amplification were studied in five alveolar and five embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines and in 19 tumour biopsies. All the cell lines studied expressed MYCN RNA, as demonstrated by northern blot analysis and RT-PCR, but the oncogene was amplified in only one. Similarly, MYCN protein was detected in all cell lines by western blot analysis, with higher levels of expression in alveolar than in embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma cells. RT-PCR analysis of tumour samples demonstrated 18/19 cases positive for MYCN RNA. Although MYCN expression was higher in alveolar than in embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines, no clear relationship between histology and level of MYCN expression could be established in this tumour series. These data suggest that MYCN expression is a common feature of rhabdomyosarcoma, independent of gene amplification and without a clear relationship with specific histological and clinical features.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine