Alternative TrkAIII splicing: a potential regulated tumor-promoting switch and therapeutic target in neuroblastoma

Future Oncol. 2005 Oct;1(5):689-98. doi: 10.2217/14796694.1.5.689.


An association between elevated tyrosine kinase receptor (Trk)-A expression and better prognosis; the absence of mutation-activated TrkA oncogenes; the induction of apoptosis, growth arrest, morphological differentiation and inhibition of xenograft growth; and angiogenesis by TrkA gene transduction, provide the basis for the current concept of an exclusively tumor-suppressor role for TrkA in the aggressive pediatric tumor, neuroblastoma. This concept, however, has recently been challenged by the discovery of a novel hypoxia-regulated alternative TrkAIII splice variant, initial data for which suggest predominant expression in advanced-stage neuroblastoma. TrkAIII exhibits neuroblastoma xenograft tumor-promoting activity associated with the induction of a more angiogenic and stress-resistant neuroblastoma phenotype and antagonises nerve growth factor/TrkAI antioncogenic signaling. In this short review, the authors integrate this novel information into a modified concept that places alternative TrkA splicing as a potential pivotal regulator of neuroblastoma behavior and identifies the TrkAIII alternative splice variant as a potential biomarker of patient prognosis and novel therapeutic target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Neuroblastoma* / genetics
  • Neuroblastoma* / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma* / pathology
  • Receptor, trkA / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, trkA / genetics*
  • Receptor, trkA / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Receptor, trkA