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PPAR Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 3038164, 10 pages
Review Article

PPAR Gamma in Neuroblastoma: The Translational Perspectives of Hypoglycemic Drugs

1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Advanced Biotechnologies, IRCCS-ISMETT (Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione), Palermo, Italy
2Fondazione Ri.MED, Palermo, Italy
3Section of Pharmacology, Department of Internal Medicine (DiMI) and Center of Excellence for Biomedical Research (CEBR), University of Genova, Genova, Italy
4Department of Experimental Medicine (DIMES), University of Genova, Genova, Italy
5IRCCS-AOU San Martino-IST, Genova, Italy

Received 2 August 2016; Accepted 14 September 2016

Academic Editor: Daniele Fanale

Copyright © 2016 Serena Vella et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common and aggressive pediatric cancer, characterized by a remarkable phenotypic diversity and high malignancy. The heterogeneous clinical behavior, ranging from spontaneous remission to fatal metastatic disease, is attributable to NB biology and genetics. Despite major advances in therapies, NB is still associated with a high morbidity and mortality. Thus, novel diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic approaches are required, mainly to improve treatment outcomes of high-risk NB patients. Among neuroepithelial cancers, NB is the most studied tumor as far as PPAR ligands are concerned. PPAR ligands are endowed with antitumoral effects, mainly acting on cancer stem cells, and constitute a possible add-on therapy to antiblastic drugs, in particular for NB with unfavourable prognosis. While discussing clinical background, this review will provide a synopsis of the major studies about PPAR expression in NB, focusing on the potential beneficial effects of hypoglycemic drugs, thiazolidinediones and metformin, to reduce the occurrence of relapses as well as tumor regrowth in NB patients.