Evaluation of Norepinephrine Transporter Expression and Metaiodobenzylguanidine Avidity in Neuroblastoma: A Report from the Children's Oncology Group

Int J Mol Imaging. 2012;2012:250834. doi: 10.1155/2012/250834. Epub 2012 Sep 25.


Purpose. (123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) is used for the diagnostic evaluation of neuroblastoma. We evaluated the relationship between norepinephrine transporter (NET) expression and clinical MIBG uptake. Methods. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR (N = 82) and immunohistochemistry (IHC; N = 61) were performed for neuroblastoma NET mRNA and protein expression and correlated with MIBG avidity on diagnostic scans. The correlation of NET expression with clinical features was also performed. Results. Median NET mRNA expression level for the 19 MIBG avid patients was 12.9% (range 1.6-73.7%) versus 5.9% (range 0.6-110.0%) for the 8 nonavid patients (P = 0.31). Median percent NET protein expression was 50% (range 0-100%) in MIBG avid patients compared to 10% (range 0-80%) in nonavid patients (P = 0.027). MYCN amplified tumors had lower NET protein expression compared to nonamplified tumors (10% versus 50%; P = 0.0002). Conclusions. NET protein expression in neuroblastoma correlates with MIBG avidity. MYCN amplified tumors have lower NET protein expression.