A c-Myc-regulated stem cell-like signature in high-risk neuroblastoma: A systematic discovery (Target neuroblastoma ESC-like signature)

Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 3;7(1):41. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00122-x.


c-Myc dysregulation is hypothesized to account for the 'stemness' - self-renewal and pluripotency - shared between embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult aggressive tumours. High-risk neuroblastoma (HR-NB) is the most frequent, aggressive, extracranial solid tumour in childhood. Using HR-NB as a platform, we performed a network analysis of transcriptome data and presented a c-Myc subnetwork enriched for genes previously reported as ESC-like cancer signatures. A subsequent drug-gene interaction analysis identified a pharmacogenomic agent that preferentially interacted with this HR-NB-specific, ESC-like signature. This agent, Roniciclib (BAY 1000394), inhibited neuroblastoma cell growth and induced apoptosis in vitro. It also repressed the expression of the oncogene c-Myc and the neural ESC marker CDK2 in vitro, which was accompanied by altered expression of the c-Myc-targeted cell cycle regulators CCND1, CDKN1A and CDKN2D in a time-dependent manner. Further investigation into this HR-NB-specific ESC-like signature in 295 and 243 independent patients revealed and validated the general prognostic index of CDK2 and CDKN3 compared with CDKN2D and CDKN1B. These findings highlight the very potent therapeutic benefits of Roniciclib in HR-NB through the targeting of c-Myc-regulated, ESC-like tumorigenesis. This work provides a hypothesis-driven systems computational model that facilitates the translation of genomic and transcriptomic signatures to molecular mechanisms underlying high-risk tumours.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, myc*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma / drug therapy
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics*
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Pharmacogenomic Testing
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*
  • Risk
  • Sulfoxides / pharmacology*
  • Transcriptome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Pyrimidines
  • Sulfoxides
  • roniciclib