- Scientific Journal
BACKGROUND: Neuroblastoma (NB) is a pediatric malignant solid tumor characterized as refractory cancer with poor prognosis. Mitosis-karyorrhexis index (MKI) is a prognostic factor but is prone to observer bias. The usefulness of MKI with Ki-67, as a marker of malignancy, was investigated. The efficacy of molecular-targeted therapeutic agents with fewer side effects in tumors has been studied. Molecular-targeted therapy targets include vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), involved in tumor angiogenesis; c-Kit, receptor of Kit/stem cells involved in tumor growth, vasculature, and lymphangiogenesis; platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR); and B-Raf proto-oncogene, serine/threonine kinase (BRAF), involved in the RAS protein-mediated mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Therefore, expression profiles of these factors and growth inhibitory effects of molecular-targeted drugs against NB were investigated. METHODS: Ten frozen NB tissue samples collected during January 1993-December 2017 were evaluated immunohistochemically for Ki-67 and VEGF. c-Kit, PDGFR, and BRAF expression levels were evaluated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays; relationships between these factors and clinicopathological parameters of NB were analyzed. RESULTS: Eight patients with NB showed no amplification of MYCN (MYCN proto- oncogene, bHLH transcription factor). There were two cases of ganglioneuroblastoma (GNB). More NB cells were positive for Ki-67 than for GNB cells. VEGF expression was observed in all NB specimens and was stronger in stage IIB and higher. No BRAF or c-Kit activity was observed; PDGFR activity was greater in NB than in GNB (p = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Thus, Ki-67 may help evaluate NB malignancy. As the first therapy for NB prevents amplification of MYCN, agents targeting PDGFR as well as VGFG can inhibit NB cell proliferation.