Neuroblastoma is the most common malignant disease of infancy, and amplification of the MYCN oncogene is closely associated with poor prognosis. Recently, expression of MYCN was shown to be inversely correlated with aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) expression in neuroblastoma, and overexpression of AHR down regulated MYCN expression, promoting cell differentiation. Therefore, we further investigated the potential of AHR to serve as a prognostic indicator or a therapeutic target in neuroblastoma. First, the clinical significance of AHR in neuroblastoma was examined. Positive AHR immunostaining strongly correlated with differentiated histology of neuroblastoma and predicted better survival for patients. The mouse xenograft model showed that overexpression of AHR significantly suppressed neuroblastoma tumor growth. In addition, activation of AHR by the endogenous ligand kynurenine inhibited cell proliferation and promoted cell differentiation in vitro and in vivo. kynurenine treatment also upregulated the expression of KISS1, a tumor metastasis suppressor, and attenuated metastasis in the xenograft model. Finally, analysis of KISS1 levels in neuroblastoma patient tumors using the R2: Genomics Analysis and Visualization Platform revealed that KISS1 expression positively correlated with AHR, and high KISS1 expression predicted better survival for patients. In conclusion, our results indicate that AHR is a novel prognostic biomarker for neuroblastoma, and that overexpression or activation of AHR offers a new therapeutic possibility for patients with neuroblastoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research