N-Myc regulates expression of the detoxifying enzyme glutathione transferase GSTP1, a marker of poor outcome in neuroblastoma

Cancer Res. 2012 Feb 15;72(4):845-53. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-1885. Epub 2011 Dec 27.


Amplification of the transcription factor MYCN is associated with poor outcome and a multidrug-resistant phenotype in neuroblastoma. N-Myc regulates the expression of several ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter genes, thus affecting global drug efflux. Because these transporters do not confer resistance to several important cytotoxic agents used to treat neuroblastoma, we explored the prognostic significance and transcriptional regulation of the phase II detoxifying enzyme, glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1). Using quantitative real-time PCR, GSTP1 gene expression was assessed in a retrospective cohort of 51 patients and subsequently in a cohort of 207 prospectively accrued primary neuroblastomas. These data along with GSTP1 expression data from an independent microarray study of 251 neuroblastoma samples were correlated with established prognostic indicators and disease outcome. High levels of GSTP1 were associated with decreased event-free and overall survival in all three cohorts. Multivariable analyses, including age at diagnosis, tumor stage, and MYCN amplification status, were conducted on the two larger cohorts, independently showing the prognostic significance of GSTP1 expression levels in this setting. Mechanistic investigations revealed that GSTP1 is a direct transcriptional target of N-Myc in neuroblastoma cells. Together, our findings reveal that N-Myc regulates GSTP1 along with ABC transporters that act to control drug metabolism and efflux. Furthermore, they imply that strategies to jointly alter these key multidrug resistance mechanisms may have therapeutic implications to manage neuroblastomas and other malignancies driven by amplified Myc family genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • N-Myc Proto-Oncogene Protein
  • Neuroblastoma / enzymology*
  • Neuroblastoma / mortality
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology*
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Prognosis


  • MYCN protein, human
  • N-Myc Proto-Oncogene Protein
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • GSTP1 protein, human
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi