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The absence of a novel intron 19-retaining ALK transcript (ALK-I19) and MYCN amplification correlates with an excellent clinical outcome in neuroblastoma patients.

ABSTRACT: ALK missense mutations are detected in 8% of neuroblastoma (NB) tumors at diagnosis and confer gain-of-function oncogenic effects. The mechanisms by which the expression of wild-type or mutant ALK, which is detectable in the majority of cases, is regulated are not well understood. We have identified a novel ALK transcript characterized by the retention of intron 19 (ALK-I19). ALK-I19 was detected in 4/4 NB cell lines, but not other non-NB cells with ALK aberrations. The functional significance of ALK-I19 was determined by specific siRNA knockdown of this transcript, which resulted in substantially decreased expression of the fully-spliced ALK transcripts (FS-ALK) and a significant reduction in cell growth. We also demonstrate that ALK-I19 is a precursor of FS-ALK. ALK-I19 was detected in 14/37 (38%) tumors from patients with newly diagnosed NB. ALK-I19 expression correlated with undifferentiated histology and strong ALK protein expression detectable by immunohistochemistry. Importantly, patients with tumors that did not express ALK-I19 and lacked MYCN amplification had an excellent clinical outcome, with 19/19 patients survived at 5-years. In conclusion, ALK-I19 is a novel ALK transcript that likely represents a marker of undifferentiated NB cells. The absence of ALK-I19 and MYCN amplification is a useful prognostic marker for NB patients.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5828214 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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