PURPOSE: For a comprehensive overview of the genetic alterations of neuroblastoma, their association and clinical significance, we conducted a whole-genome DNA copy number analysis.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A series of 493 neuroblastoma (NB) samples was investigated by array-based comparative genomic hybridization in two consecutive steps (224, then 269 patients).
RESULTS: Genomic analysis identified several types of profiles. Tumors presenting exclusively whole-chromosome copy number variations were associated with excellent survival. No disease-related death was observed in this group. In contrast, tumors with any type of segmental chromosome alterations characterized patients with a high risk of relapse. Patients with both numerical and segmental abnormalities clearly shared the higher risk of relapse of segmental-only patients. In a multivariate analysis, taking into account the genomic profile, but also previously described individual genetic and clinical markers with prognostic significance, the presence of segmental alterations with (HR, 7.3; 95% CI, 3.7 to 14.5; P < .001) or without MYCN amplification (HR, 4.5; 95% CI, 2.4 to 8.4; P < .001) was the strongest predictor of relapse; the other significant variables were age older than 18 months (HR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.8; P = .004) and stage 4 (HR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.7; P = .005). Finally, within tumors showing segmental alterations, stage 4, age, MYCN amplification, 1p and 11q deletions, and 1q gain were independent predictors of decreased overall survival.
CONCLUSION: The analysis of the overall genomic pattern, which probably unravels particular genomic instability mechanisms rather than the analysis of individual markers, is essential to predict relapse in NB patients. It adds critical prognostic information to conventional markers and should be included in future treatment stratification.
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