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Exp Mol Pathol. 2013 Oct;95(2):124-30. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2013.06.002. Epub 2013 Jun 21.

ALK amplification and protein expression predict inferior prognosis in neuroblastomas.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, Basic Medical College, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

ALK gene has been identified as a major neuroblastoma (NBL) predisposition gene. But ALK gene copy number and protein expression in ganglioneuroblastoma (GNBL) and ganglioneuroma (GN) are poorly described in the literature. Furthermore, there are controversies on the correlation between ALK protein expression and clinical outcome in NBL.

METHODS:

We evaluated MYCN/ALK gene copy number by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and detected ALK protein expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 188 NBL, 52 GNBL and 6 GN samples and analyzed their association with clinical outcome of the patients.

RESULTS:

Although ALK gene copy number increase is a recurrent genetic aberration of neuroblastic tumors (NTs) (39.1%, 96/246), ALK amplification was only present in three NBLs (1.2%, 3/246). The frequency of ALK positivity in NBL (50.5%, 51/101) was significantly higher than in GNBL (22.6%, 7/31) and in GN (0.0%, 0/4) (P<0.05). In addition, ALK positivity also significantly correlates with MYCN/ALK gene copy number increases (P<0.05). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated that MYCN/ALK amplification is correlated with decreased overall survival in NBL. A better prognosis trend was observed in patients with MYCN/ALK gain tumors compared with those with MYCN/ALK normal tumors. Furthermore, ALK positivity significantly correlated with inferior survival in NBL (P=0.044).

CONCLUSION:

ALK positivity in NTs correlated with advanced tumor types and MYCN/ALK gene copy number increases. ALK positivity predicts inferior prognosis in NBL and IHC is a simplified strategy to screen ALK positivity in clinical practice.

KEYWORDS:

ALK; FISH; IHC; MYCN; NTs

PMID:
23797004
DOI:
10.1016/j.yexmp.2013.06.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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