New strategies to enhance the survival of children with neuroblastoma


Neuroblastoma, a childhood most cancers that develops from neural cells on the adrenal glands, accounts for 15% of childhood most cancers deaths. Virtually half of youngsters with high-risk neuroblastoma harbor further copies of the gene MYCN (MYCN amplified), the first driver of neuroblastoma and its resistance to remedy.

“Treating neuroblastoma by straight focusing on MYCN has been difficult,” mentioned Dr. Eveline Barbieri, corresponding creator of a latest examine revealed within the journal Nature Communications and assistant professor of pediatrics – hematology and oncology at Baylor School of Medication and Texas Kids’s Hospital. “On this examine we investigated new methods to enhance the survival of youngsters with MYCN amplified neuroblastoma by trying into metabolic vulnerabilities that we might exploit to overturn these tumors’ resistance to remedy.”

Barbieri and her colleagues used an unbiased, metabolomics evaluation to check the metabolic profiles of MYCN-amplified neuroblastomas to the profiles of non MYCN-amplified neuroblastomas. The outcomes of their modern method confirmed that there have been vital variations between tumor cell utilization of particular vitamins for tumor development in these two tumor teams.

We discovered that MYCN amplification rewires a tumor’s lipid metabolism in a approach that promotes the use and biosynthesis of fatty acids, a sort of lipid cells can use as a supply of power. Cells with further copies of MYCN rely extremely on fatty acids for his or her survival. We confirmed this each in MYCN-amplified cell traces and in MYCN- amplified affected person tumor samples.”

Dr Eveline Barbieri, Research Corresponding Writer, Baylor School of Medication

Barbieri and her colleagues hypothesized that MYCN reroutes lipid metabolism in order that fatty acids are available to most cancers cells, thereby selling tumor cell development.

“After we investigated what prompted MYCN-amplified neuroblastomas to depend on fatty acids to develop, we found that MYCN straight upregulates or enhances the manufacturing of fatty acid transport protein 2 (FATP2), a molecule that mediates mobile uptake of fatty acids,” Barbieri mentioned. “We then requested, what would occur if we interfered with FATP2 perform in MYCN-amplified neuroblastomas?”

When the researchers neutralized FATP2 exercise, both by flattening the gene or by blocking FATP2 motion with a small-molecule inhibitor, they lowered the expansion of MYCN-amplified tumors.

“We noticed that once we blocked the import of fatty acids into the most cancers cells, and there was a discount in tumor cell development,” Barbieri mentioned. “The fascinating half is that inhibiting or blocking FATP2 had no impact on regular cells or tumors with out MYCN-amplification. This appears to be a selective metabolic vulnerability of MYCN-amplified tumors. They uniquely use this transporter to feed on fatty acids to develop.”

There are different MYCN-amplified pediatric and grownup tumors.

“This method could also be relevant to many human cancers that make the most of MYC for oncogenesis (about 50% of cancers general) and supply new perception into the regulation of power metabolism in most cancers development,” Barbieri mentioned.

These discovering counsel that therapeutic interventions that intervene with FATP2 exercise can probably selectively block fatty acid uptake in MYCN-amplified tumors, stopping or decreasing tumor development and making them extra delicate to traditional chemotherapy.

“Extra work is required earlier than this method might be employed within the medical setting,” Barbieri mentioned. “However this examine means that methods to intervene with a tumor’s dietary dependence on fatty acids is a promising therapeutic technique worthy of additional investigation.”


Journal reference:

Tao, L., et al. (2022) MYCN-driven fatty acid uptake is a metabolic vulnerability in neuroblastoma. Nature Communications.

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