In a new study, German researchers may have found a better way to treat patients with neuroblastoma. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Science.
Neuroblastomas include tumors that form in certain types of neural tissue, which is most common in newborns and infants and often results in the formation of tumors in the adrenal glands, but sometimes tumors also appear in the neck, spine or pelvis. Neuroblastoma is the third most common cancer in children, accounting for about 7.5% of all confirmed pediatric cancer cases.
Previous studies have found that in some cases, neuroblastoma is more aggressive, and in other cases, it actually disappears on its own, but in the worst case, it will even lead to death. If the doctor can figure out how aggressive the tumor might be at the initial diagnosis, it will be very helpful for the treatments, that’s why scientists have managed to classify the neuroblastomas. In this new study, German researchers believe they have found a way to solve this problem.
In order to learn more about the underlying causes of neuroblastoma invasion, the researchers collected more than 400 neuroblastoma samples and analyzed their DNA, including finding mutations in genes involved in maintaining telomeres. They found a correlation between these genetic mutations and the aggressiveness of neuroblastoma. Low-risk neuroblastomas often lack such genetic mutations, moderate-risk neuroblastomas are more likely to have such genetic mutations, and high-risk neuroblastomas also have mutations in these genes, but they are mutated in other key gene pathways, such as the RAS and/or p53 pathways.
The researchers believe that their findings may provide new ways to treat neuroblastoma, providing doctors with a reliable method for determining the possibility of invasive tumor metastasis at initial diagnosis.