Neuroblastoma (NBL) is the most common solid tumor in infants and accounts for 15% of all pediatric cancer deaths. Several risk factors predict NBL outcome: age at the time of diagnosis, stage, chromosome alterations and MYCN (V-Myc Avian Myelocytomatosis Viral Oncogene Neuroblastoma-Derived Homolog) amplification, which characterizes the subset of the most aggressive NBLs with an overall survival below 30%. MYCN-amplified tumors develop exceptional chemoresistance and metastatic capacity. These properties have been linked to defects in the apoptotic machinery, either by silencing components of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway (e.g. caspase-8) or by overexpression of antiapoptotic regulators (e.g. Bcl-2, Mcl-1 or FLIP). Very little is known on the implication of death receptors and their antagonists in NBL. In this work, the expression levels of several death receptor antagonists were analyzed in multiple human NBL data sets. We report that Lifeguard (LFG/FAIM2 (Fas apoptosis inhibitory molecule 2)/NMP35) is downregulated in the most aggressive and undifferentiated tumors. Intringuingly, although LFG has been initially characterized as an antiapoptotic protein, we have found a new association with NBL differentiation. Moreover, LFG repression resulted in reduced cell adhesion, increased sphere growth and enhanced migration, thus conferring a higher metastatic capacity to NBL cells. Furthermore, LFG expression was found to be directly repressed by MYCN at the transcriptional level. Our data, which support a new functional role for a hitherto undiscovered MYCN target, provide a new link between MYCN overexpression and increased NBL metastatic properties.
|Original language||American English|
|Journal||Cell death and disease|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2014|