Clinical Impact of Tumor Mutational Burden in Neuroblastoma

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2019 Jul 1;111(7):695-699. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djy157.


Background: Neuroblastoma is the most common pediatric extracranial solid tumor. Within conventional risk groups, there is considerable heterogeneity in outcomes, indicating the need for improved risk stratification.

Methods: In this study we analyzed the somatic mutational burden of 515 primary, untreated neuroblastoma tumors from three independent cohorts. Mutations in coding regions were determined by whole-exome/genome sequencing of tumor samples compared to matched blood leukocytes. Survival data for 459 patients were available for analysis of 5-year overall survival using the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: Despite a low overall somatic mutational burden (mean = 3, range = 0-56), 107 patients were considered to have high mutational burden (>3 mutations). Unfavorable histology and age 18 months and older were associated with high mutational burden. Patients with high mutational burden had inferior 5-year overall survival (29.0%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 17.2 to 41.8%) vs those with three or fewer somatic mutations (76.2%, 95% CI = 71.5 to 80.3%) (log-rank P < .001) and this association persisted when limiting the analysis to genes included on a 447-gene panel commonly used in clinical practice. On multivariable analysis, mutational burden remained prognostic independent of age, stage, histology and MYCN status.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that mutational burden of primary neuroblastoma may be useful in combination with conventional risk factors to optimize risk stratification and guide treatment decisions, pending prospective validation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neuroblastoma / epidemiology*
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Prognosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tumor Burden / genetics
  • Whole Exome Sequencing


  • Biomarkers, Tumor