Identification of patient subgroups with markedly disparate rates of MYCN amplification in neuroblastoma: A report from the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group project

Cancer. 2016 Mar 15;122(6):935-45. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29848. Epub 2015 Dec 28.


Background: MYCN gene amplification (MNA) is a hallmark of aggressive neuroblastoma. This study was performed to determine univariate and multivariate predictors of tumor MNA.

Methods: Data from the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group were analyzed for a subset of 7102 patients with known MYCN status. Chi-square testing and logistic regression were used to identify univariate and multivariate predictors of MYCN status. Recursive partitioning was used to identify groups of patients with maximal differences in rates of MNA.

Results: All clinical features (age ≥ 18 months, high ferritin levels, high lactate dehydrogenase [LDH] levels, International Neuroblastoma Staging System stage 4, and adrenal sites) and pathological/biological features (DNA index ≤ 1, high mitosis-karyorrhexis index [MKI], undifferentiated/poorly differentiated grade, unfavorable histology according to the International Neuroblastoma Pathology Classification, and segmental chromosomal aberrations [SCAs]) were significantly associated with MNA. LDH (odds ratio [OR], 8.4; P < .001) and chromosomal 1p loss of heterozygosity (OR, 19.8; P < .001) were the clinical and biological variables, respectively, most strongly associated with MNA. In logistic regression, all variables except chromosome 17q aberration and pooled SCAs were independently predictive of MNA. Recursive partitioning identified subgroups with disparate rates of MNA, including subgroups with 85.7% MNA (patients with high LDH levels who had poorly differentiated adrenal tumors with chromosome 1p deletion) and 0.6% MNA (localized tumors having hyperdiploidy and low MKIs and lacking chromosome 1p aberrations).

Conclusions: MNA is strongly associated with other clinical and biological variables in neuroblastoma. Recursive partitioning has identified subgroups of neuroblastoma patients with highly disparate rates of MNA. These findings can be used to inform investigations of molecular mechanisms of MNA.

Keywords: decision trees; gene amplification; neuroblastoma; neuroblastoma/genetics; oncogene proteins/genetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Male
  • N-Myc Proto-Oncogene Protein
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics*
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Neuroblastoma / secondary
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis


  • MYCN protein, human
  • N-Myc Proto-Oncogene Protein
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins