Research Papers:

Favorable prognostic role of tropomodulins in neuroblastoma

Paola Bettinsoli _, Giulia Ferrari-Toninelli, Sara Anna Bonini, Michela Guarienti, Davide Cangelosi, Luigi Varesio and Maurizio Memo

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:27092-27103. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25491

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Paola Bettinsoli1, Giulia Ferrari-Toninelli1, Sara Anna Bonini1, Michela Guarienti1, Davide Cangelosi2, Luigi Varesio2 and Maurizio Memo1

1Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Brescia Medical School, Brescia, Italy

2Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Giannina Gaslini Institute, Genova, Italy

Correspondence to:

Paola Bettinsoli, email: [email protected]

Keywords: neuroblastoma; tropomodulins; favorable prognostic biomarkers; overall survival probability; therapeutic strategies

Received: September 15, 2017    Accepted: May 07, 2018    Published: June 05, 2018


Neuroblastoma is a pediatric tumor of the sympatoadrenal lineage of the neural crest characterized by high molecular and clinical heterogeneity, which are the main causes of the poor response to standard multimodal therapy. The identification of new and selective biomarkers is important to improve our knowledge on the mechanisms of neuroblastoma progression and to find the targets for innovative cancer therapies. This study identifies a positive correlation among tropomodulins (TMODs) proteins expression and neuroblastoma progression. TMODs bind the pointed end of actin filaments, regulate polymerization and depolymerization processes modifying actin cytoskeletal dynamic and influencing neuronal development processes. Expression levels of TMODs genes were analyzed in 17 datasets comprising different types of tumors, including neuroblastoma, and it was demonstrated that high levels of tropomodulin1 (TMOD1) and tropomodulin 2 (TMOD2) correlate positively with high survival probability and with favorable clinical and molecular characteristics. Functional studies on neuroblastoma cell lines, showed that TMOD1 knockin induced cell cycle arrest, cell proliferation arrest and a mature functional differentiation. TMOD1 overexpression was responsible for particular cell morphology and biochemical changes which directed cells towards a neuronal favorable differentiation profile. TMOD1 downregulation also induced cell proliferation arrest but caused the loss of mature cell differentiation and promoted the development of neuroendocrine cellular characteristics, delineating an aggressive and unfavorable tumor behavior. Overall, these data indicated that TMODs are favorable prognostic biomarkers in neuroblastoma and we believe that they could contribute to unravel a new pathophysiological mechanism of neuroblastoma resistance contributing to the design of personalized therapeutics opportunities.

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