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Eur J Cancer. 1997 Oct;33(12):1923-8.

Molecular genetic analysis of familial neuroblastoma.

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Division of Oncology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Neuroblastoma has several clinical and molecular genetic parallels with the other paediatric embryonal tumours, such as retinoblastoma, including a hereditary form of the disease. We hypothesised that neuroblastoma susceptibility is due to germline mutations in a tumour suppressor gene and that this predisposition gene may be involved in sporadic neuroblastoma tumorigenesis as well. We therefore aimed to localise the familial neuroblastoma predisposition gene by linkage analysis in neuroblastoma kindreds. Eighteen families segregating for neuroblastoma were ascertained for candidate locus linkage analysis. Although many of the 49 affected individuals in these families were diagnosed as infants with multifocal primary tumours, there was marked clinical heterogeneity. We originally hypothesised that familial neuroblastoma predisposition would map to the telomeric portion of chromosome band 1p36, a genomic region likely to contain a sporadic neuroblastoma suppressor gene. However, neuroblastoma predisposition did not map to any of eight polymorphic markers spanning 1p36.2-.3 in three large kindreds. In addition, there was strong evidence against linkage to two Hirschsprung disease susceptibility genes (RET and EDNRB), a condition that can cosegregate with neuroblastoma as in one of the kindreds tested here. We conclude that the neuroblastoma susceptibility gene is distinct from the 1p36 neuroblastoma suppressor and two of the currently identified Hirschsprung disease susceptibility genes.

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