Neuroblastoma is the most common pediatric solid tumor of neural crest origin. The current treatment options for neuroblastoma produce severe side effects. Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), chronic inflammation, and non-coding RNAs are known to play a significant role in the pathogenesis of neuroblastoma. Cancer cells and the surrounding cells in the tumor microenvironment express PD-L1. Programmed death-1 (PD-1) is a co-receptor expressed predominantly by T cells. The binding of PD-1 to its ligands, PD-L1 or PD-L2, is vital for the physiologic regulation of the immune system. Chronic inflammation is involved in the recruitment of leukocytes, production of cytokines and chemokines that in turn, lead to survival, metastasis, and angiogenesis in neuroblastoma tumors. The miRNAs and long non-coding (lnc) RNAs have emerged as a novel class of non-coding RNAs that can regulate neuroblastoma associated cell-signaling pathways. The dysregulation of PD-1/PD-L1, inflammatory pathways, lncRNAs, and miRNAs have been reported in clinical and experimental samples of neuroblastoma. These signaling molecules are currently being evaluated for their potential as the biomarker and therapeutic targets in the management of neuroblastoma. A monoclonal antibody called dinutuximab (Unituxin) that attaches to a carbohydrate molecule GD2, on the surface of many neuroblastoma cells, is being used as an immunotherapy drug for neuroblastoma treatment. Atezolizumab (Tecentriq), an engineered monoclonal antibody against PD-L1, are currently in clinical trial for neuroblastoma patients. The lncRNA/miRNA-based therapeutics is being developed to deliver tumor suppressor lncRNAs/miRNAs or silencing of oncogenic lncRNAs/miRNAs. The focus of this review is to discuss the current knowledge on the immune checkpoint molecules, PD-1/PD-L1 signaling, inflammation, and non-coding RNAs in neuroblastoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-65
Number of pages13
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Immuno-therapy
  • Inflammation
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Non-coding RNAs
  • PD-L1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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