High risk neuroblastoma (HR-NB) remains difficult to treat, and its overall survival (OS) is still below 50%. Although HR-NB is a heterogeneous disease, HR-NB patients are currently treated in a similar fashion. Through unsupervised biclustering, we further stratified HR-NB patients into two reproducible and clinically distinct subtypes, including an ultra-high risk neuroblastoma (UHR-NB) and high risk neuroblastoma (HR-NB). The UHR-NB subtype consistently had the worst OS in multiple independent cohorts (P <0.008). Out of 283 neuroblastoma-specific immune genes that were used for stratification, 39 of them were differentiated in UHR-NB, including four upregulated and 35 downregulated, as compared to HR-NB. The four UHR-NB upregulated genes (ADAM22, GAL, KLHL13 and TWIST1) were all upregulated in MYCN amplified neuroblastoma in 5 additional cohorts. TWIST1 and ADAM22 were also positively correlated with cancer stage, while GAL was an independent OS predictor in addition to MYCN and age. Furthermore, we identified 26 commonly upregulated and 311 downregulated genes in UHR-NB from all 4723 immune-related genes. While 43 KEGG pathways with molecular functions were enriched in the downregulated immune-related genes, only the P53 signaling pathway was enriched in the upregulated ones, which suggested that UHR-NB was a TP53 related subtype with reduced immune activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1739
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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