Multifocal primary neuroblastoma tumor heterogeneity in siblings with co-occurring PHOX2B and NF1 genetic aberrations

Brad Rybinski, Tamar Wolinsky, Andrew Brohl, Scott Moerdler, Damon R. Reed, Michelle Ewart, Daniel Weiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid tumor of childhood, can present in multiple primary sites, but the extent of genetic heterogeneity among tumor foci, as well as the presence or absence of common oncogenic drivers, remains unknown. Although PHOX2B genetic aberrations can cause familial neuroblastoma, they demonstrate incomplete penetrance with respect to neuroblastoma pathogenesis, suggesting that additional undescribed oncogenic drivers are necessary for tumor development. We performed comprehensive molecular characterization of neuroblastoma tumors from two siblings affected by familial multifocal neuroblastoma, including whole exome sequencing and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays of tumor and matched blood samples. Data were processed and analyzed using established bioinformatics algorithms to evaluate for germline and somatic mutations and copy number variations (CNVs). We confirmed the presence of a PHOX2B deletion and NF1 mutation across all tumor samples and the germline genome. Matched tumor-blood whole exome sequencing also identified 365 genes that contained nonsilent coding mutations across all tumor samples, with no recurrent mutations across all tumors. SNP arrays also showed significant heterogeneity with respect to CNVs. The only common CNV across all tumors was 17q gain, with differing chromosomal coordinates across samples but a common region of overlap distal to 17q21.31, suggesting this adverse prognostic biomarker may offer insight about additional drivers for multifocal neuroblastoma in patients with germline PHOX2B or NF1 aberrations. Molecular characterization of all tumors from patients with multifocal primary neuroblastoma has potential to yield novel insights on neuroblastoma pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalGenes Chromosomes and Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • NF1
  • PHOX2B
  • intertumor heterogeneity
  • neuroblastoma
  • neurofibromatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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