Background: The EPH family is the largest subfamily of receptor protein-tyrosine kinases, consisting of EPHA and EPHB subgroups. Ligands of EPH family receptors are called ephrins, which include ephrin-A and ephrin-B subgroups. We recently found that transcripts encoding the EPHB subgroup (EPHB) and the ephrin-B subgroup (EFNB) were expressed together in neuroblastoma (NB) cell lines.
Procedure: In this study, we examined the expression of EPHB and EFNB transcripts in 24 NB specimens representing all clinical stages. We found that several EPHB and EFNB transcripts were expressed together in all NBs examined.
Results: Among the transcripts examined, EPHB6 expression was most significantly associated with low stage tumors (stages 1, 2, and 4S; P = 0.0048). TrkA expression was significantly correlated with EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 expression (P < 0.01 in each case). Taken together, these data indicate that the expression of EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 may serve as prognostic indicators of favorable NBs. In the low-stage NBs without MYCN amplification, EPHB2 expression was correlated both with MYCN expression and with TrkA expression (P < 0.01 in each case). Moreover, MYCN expression was correlated with TrkA expression (P < 0.01) in the low-stage NBs.
Conclusions: This observation points to the possibility that MYCN expression might contribute to favorable outcome of low-stage NBs.