Zebrafish as a model to study neuroblastoma development.

Zebrafish as a model to study neuroblastoma development.

Cell Tissue Res. 2017 Oct 13;:

Authors: Casey MJ, Stewart RA

Abstract
Neuroblastoma is a pediatric solid tumor arising from embryonic neural crest progenitor cells that normally generate the peripheral sympathetic nervous system. As such, the location of neuroblastoma tumors is correlated with the distribution of major post-ganglionic clusters throughout the sympathetic chain, with the highest incidence in the adrenal medulla or lumbar sympathetic ganglia (~65%). Neuroblastoma is an enigmatic tumor that can spontaneously regress with minimal treatment or become highly metastatic and develop resistance to aggressive treatments, including radiation and high-dose chemotherapy. Age of diagnosis, stage of disease and cellular and genetic features often predict whether the tumor will regress or advance to metastatic disease. Recent efforts using molecular and genomic technologies have allowed more accurate stratification of patients into low-, intermediate- and high-risk categories, thereby allowing for minimal intervention in low-risk patients and providing potential new therapeutic targets, such as the ALK receptor tyrosine kinase, for high-risk or relapsed patients. Despite these advances, the overall survival of high-risk neuroblastoma patients is still less than 50%. Furthermore, next-generation sequencing has revealed that almost two-thirds of neuroblastoma tumors do not contain obvious pathogenic mutations, suggesting that epigenetic mechanisms and/or a perturbed cellular microenvironment may heavily influence neuroblastoma development. Understanding the mechanisms that drive neuroblastoma, therefore, will likely require a combination of genomic, developmental and cancer biology approaches in whole animal systems. In this review, we discuss the contributions of zebrafish research to our understanding of neuroblastoma pathogenesis as well as the potential for this model system to accelerate the identification of more effective therapies for high-risk neuroblastoma patients in the future.

PMID: 29027617 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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