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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Promising therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid tumor in children, is derived from neural crest cells. Nearly half of patients present with metastatic disease and have a 5-year event-free survival of <50%. New approaches with targeted therapy may improve efficacy without increased toxicity. In this review we evaluate 3 promising targeted therapies: (i) (131)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG), a radiopharmaceutical that is taken up by human norepinephrine transporter (hNET), which is expressed in 90% of neuroblastomas; (ii) immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies targeting the GD2 ganglioside, which is expressed on 98% of neuroblastoma cells; and (iii) inhibitors of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), a tyrosine kinase that is mutated or amplified in ∼10% of neuroblastomas and expressed on the surface of most neuroblastoma cells. Early-phase trials have confirmed the activity of (131)I-MIBG in relapsed neuroblastoma, with response rates of ∼30%, but the technical aspects of administering large amounts of radioactivity in young children and limited access to this agent have hindered its incorporation into treatment of newly diagnosed patients. Anti-GD2 antibodies have also shown activity in relapsed disease, and a recent phase III randomized trial showed a significant improvement in event-free survival for patients receiving chimeric anti-GD2 (ch14.18) combined with cytokines and isotretinoin after myeloablative consolidation therapy. A recently approved small-molecule inhibitor of ALK has shown promising preclinical activity for neuroblastoma and is currently in phase I and II trials. This is the first agent directed to a specific mutation in neuroblastoma, and marks a new step toward personalized therapy for neuroblastoma. Further clinical development of targeted treatments offers new hope for children with neuroblastoma. Clin Cancer Res; 18(10); 2740-53. ©2012 AACR.[1]


  1. Promising therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma. Matthay, K.K., George, R.E., Yu, A.L. Clin. Cancer Res. (2012) [Pubmed]
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