In a new study, German researchers may have found a better way to treat theneuroblastoma. This study was published in Science on December 7th 2018, entitled "A mechanistic classification of clinical phenotypes in neuroblastoma."
Neuroblastomas include tumors that form in certain types of neural tissue. It is the commonestto newborns and infants and often results in the formation of tumors in the adrenal glands, but sometimes tumors are also produced in the neck, spine or pelvis. Neuroblastoma is the third most common cancer in children, accounting for about 7.5% of all confirmed pediatric cancer cases. Previous studies have shown that in some cases, it is more aggressive, and in other cases, it actually disappears on its own, but in the worst case, it can lead to death. It may be very helpful if the doctors know at the initial diagnosis that the tumor may be invasive. Scientists have managed to classify them. In this new study, German researchers believe that they have found a way to solve this problem.
To learn more about the underlying causes of neuroblastoma invasion, the researchers collected more than 400 neuroblastoma samples and analyzed their DNA, including finding mutations in genes involved in maintaining telomeres. They found a correlation between these genetic mutations and the aggressiveness of neuroblastoma. Low-risk neuroblastomas often lack such genetic mutations. Moderate risk neuroblastomas are more likely to have such genetic mutations. High-risk neuroblastomas also have mutations in these genes, but they are mutated in other key gene pathways(such as the RAS and/or p53 pathways).
The researchers say their findings may provide a new way to treat neuroblastoma and provide doctors with a reliable method of determining the likelihood of invasive tumor metastasis at the time of initial diagnosis.