We have recently shown that expression of the multidrug resistance- associated protein (MRP) gene is a powerful prognostic indicator in childhood neuroblastoma and have suggested that the MYCN oncogene may regulate MRP gene expression. To address this hypothesis, we have examined the relationship between MYCN and MRP gene expression in neuroblastoma tumours and cell lines. MYCN and MRP gene expression were highly correlated in 60 primary untreated tumours both with (P= 0.01) and without MYCN gene amplification (P< 0.0001). Like MRP, high MYCN gene expression was significantly associated with reduced survival, both in the overall study population and in older children without MYCN gene amplification (relative hazards=13.33 and 19.61, respectively). Inhibition of MYCN, through the introduction of MYCN antisense RNA constructs into human neuroblastoma cells in vitro, resulted in decreased MRP gene expression, determined both by RNA-PCR and Western analysis. The data are consistent with MYCN influencing neuroblastoma outcome by regulating MRP gene expression.
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