FAK-Src-paxillin system expression and disease outcome in human neuroblastoma

<p><b>Background:</b> Neuroblastoma (NB) often presents with metastatic disease and poor survival. The need for new prognostic markers remains invaluable. The FAK-Src-Paxillin protein system is associated with aggressive phenotype in adult malignancies but is largely unexplored in pediatric NB. <b>Objective:</b> To assess FAK-Src-Paxillin protein expression in human NB cell lines and clinical cytology material and to delineate its association with survival. <b>Design/Methods:</b> Western blot and immunohistochemistry were applied for FAK-Src-Paxillin expression in NB cell lines and 23 human cytology specimens, respectively. Protein expression in human clinical samples was correlated with clinicopathological parameters, <i>MYCN</i> amplification and survival. <b>Results:</b> FAK, Src and Paxillin proteins are expressed in human NB cells lines, and can be detected in clinical cytology specimens from NB patients, (59%, 32% and 33% respectively). Simultaneous FAK-Src-Paxillin expression was noted in 30% of NB patients. Children with concomitant positivity FAK, Src, and Paxillin tumors, as well as <i>MYCN</i> amplification, had increased mortality compared to those without. <b>Conclusions:</b> FAK-Src-Paxillin system is a marker of unfavorable prognosis for human NB patients but also a promising therapeutic target.</p>