CASZ1, a candidate tumor-suppressor gene, suppresses neuroblastoma tumor growth through reprogramming gene expression

Cell Death Differ. 2011 Jul;18(7):1174-83. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2010.187. Epub 2011 Jan 21.


Neuroblastoma (NB) is a common childhood malignant tumor of the neural crest-derived sympathetic nervous system. In NB the frequent loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on chromosome 1p raises the possibility that this region contains tumor-suppressor genes whose inactivation contributes to tumorigenesis. The human homolog of the Drosophila neural fate determination gene CASZ1, a zinc-finger transcription factor, maps to chromosome 1p36.22, a region implicated in NB tumorigenesis. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that low-CASZ1 expression is significantly correlated with increased age (≥18 months), Children's Oncology Group high-risk classification, 1p LOH and MYCN amplification (all P<0.0002) and decreased survival probability (P=0.0009). CASZ1 was more highly expressed in NB with a differentiated histopathology (P<0.0001). Retinoids and epigenetic modification agents associated with regulation of differentiation induced CASZ1 expression. Expression profiling analysis revealed that CASZ1 regulates the expression of genes involved in regulation of cell growth and developmental processes. Specific restoration of CASZ1 in NB cells induced cell differentiation, enhanced cell adhesion, inhibited migration and suppressed tumorigenicity. These data are consistent with CASZ1 being a critical modulator of neural cell development, and that somatically acquired disruption of normal CASZ1 expression contributes to the malignant phenotype of human NB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cellular Reprogramming
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 1
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • N-Myc Proto-Oncogene Protein
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics*
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Retinoids / pharmacology
  • Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • CASZ1 protein, human
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • MYCN protein, human
  • N-Myc Proto-Oncogene Protein
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Retinoids
  • Transcription Factors