Morphological and molecular assessment of apoptotic mechanisms in peripheral neuroblastic tumours

S. Uccini, C. Colarossi, S. Scarpino, R. Boldrini, P.G. Natali, M.R. Nicotra, F.M. Perla, O. Mannarino, P. Altavista, C. Boglino, C.A. Cappelli, D. Cozzi, A. Donfrancesco, G. Kokai, P.D. Losty, H.P. McDowell, C. Dominici

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Multiple defects in apoptotic pathways have been described in peripheral neuroblastic tumours (NTs). Mitosis-karyorrhexis index (MKI) is a reliable morphological marker identifying favourable and unfavourable NTs. The extent to which apoptotic processes contribute to determine the clinical significance of MKI is still undefined. Apoptosis was investigated in a series of 110 peripheral NTs by comparing MKI to immunohistochemical and molecular apoptotic features. High MKI was found in 55 out of 110 NTs (50%) and was associated with advanced stage (P=0.007), neuroblastoma (NB) histological category (P=0.024), MYCN amplification (P<0.001), and poor outcome (P=0.011). Overall survival probability was 45% in patients with high MKI compared to 73% in patients with low MKI. In the same 110 NTs, the expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, Bax and Mcl-1 was studied by immunohistochemistry, but no significant associations were found with clinicohistological features. Microarray analysis of apoptotic genes was performed in 40 out of 110 representative tumours. No significant association was found between the expression of apoptotic genes and MKI or clinicohistological features. Proliferative activity was assessed in 60 out of 110 representative tumours using Ki67 immunostaining, but no significant correlations with MKI or clinicobiological features were found. In NTs, the combination of apoptosis and proliferation as expressed by MKI is a significant prognostic parameter, although neither of them is per se indicative of the clinicobiological behaviour and outcome. © 2006 Cancer Research All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49 - 55
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Uccini, S., Colarossi, C., Scarpino, S., Boldrini, R., Natali, P. G., Nicotra, M. R., ... Dominici, C. (2006). Morphological and molecular assessment of apoptotic mechanisms in peripheral neuroblastic tumours. British Journal of Cancer, 95(1), 49 - 55.