FOXR2 Stabilizes MYCN Protein and Identifies Non–MYCN-Amplified Neuroblastoma Patients With Unfavorable Outcome

Felix Schmitt-Hoffner, Sjoerd van Rijn, Umut H. Toprak, Monika Mauermann, Felix Rosemann, Anke Heit-Mondrzyk, Jens Martin Hübner, Aylin Camgöz, Sabine Hartlieb, Stefan M. Pfister, Kai Oliver Henrich, Frank Westermann, Marcel Kool

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14 Citaten (Scopus)


PURPOSE Clinical outcomes of patients with neuroblastoma range from spontaneous tumor regression to fatality. Hence, understanding the mechanisms that cause tumor progression is crucial for the treatment of patients. In this study, we show that FOXR2 activation identifies a subset of neuroblastoma tumors with unfavorable outcome and we investigate the mechanism how FOXR2 relates to poor outcome in patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS We analyzed three independent transcriptional data sets of in total 1030 primary neuroblastomas with full clinical annotation. We performed immunoprecipitation for FOXR2 and MYCN and silenced FOXR2 expression in two neuroblastoma cell lines to examine the effect on cellular processes, transcriptome, and MYCN protein levels. Tumor samples were analyzed for protein levels of FOXR2 and MYCN. RESULTS In three combined neuroblastoma data sets, 9% of tumors show expression of FOXR2 but have low levels of MYCN mRNA. FOXR2 expression identifies a group of patients with unfavorable outcome, showing 10-year overall survival rates of 53%-59%, and proves to be an independent prognostic factor compared with established risk factors. Transcriptionally, FOXR2-expressing tumors are very similar to MYCN-amplified tumors, suggesting that they might share a common mechanism of tumor initiation. FOXR2 knockdown in FOXR2-expressing neuroblastoma cell lines resulted in cell cycle arrest, reduced cell growth, cell death, and reduced MYCN protein levels, all indicating that FOXR2 is essential for these tumors. Finally, we show that FOXR2 binds and stabilizes MYCN protein and MYCN protein levels are highly increased in FOXR2-expressing tumors, in several cases comparable with MYCN-amplified samples. CONCLUSION The stabilization of MYCN by FOXR2 represents an alternative mechanism to MYCN amplification to increase MYCN protein levels. As such, FOXR2 expression identifies another subset of neuroblastoma patients with unfavorable clinical outcome.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)3217-3228
Aantal pagina's12
TijdschriftJournal of Clinical Oncology
Nummer van het tijdschrift29
StatusGepubliceerd - 10 okt. 2021


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