Myc transcriptional activity is frequently deregulated in human cancers, but a Myc-driven gene signature with prognostic ability across multiple tumor types remains lacking. Here, we selected 18 Myc-regulated genes from published studies of Myc family targets in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and neuroblastoma. A Myc family activity score derived from the 18 genes was correlated to MYC/MYCN/MYCL1 expression in a panel of 35 cancer cell lines. The prognostic ability of this signature was evaluated in neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and EOC microarray gene expression datasets using Kaplan–Meier and multivariate Cox regression analyses and was further validated in 42 primary neuroblastomas using qPCR. Cell lines with high MYC, MYCN, and/or MYCL1 gene expression exhibited elevated expression of the signature genes. Survival analysis showed that the signature was associated with poor outcome independently of well-defined prognostic factors in neuroblastoma, breast cancer, DLBCL, and medulloblastoma. In EOC, the 18-gene Myc activity signature was capable of identifying a group of patients with poor prognosis in a "high-MYCN" molecular subtype but not in the overall cohort. The predictive ability of this signature was reproduced using qPCR analysis of an independent cohort of neuroblastomas, including a subset of tumors without MYCN amplification. These data reveal an 18-gene Myc activity signature that is highly predictive of poor prognosis in diverse Myc-associated malignancies and suggest its potential clinical application in the identification of Myc-driven tumors that might respond to Myc-targeted therapies. Cancer Res; 77(4); 971–81. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Research Online (http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received October 20, 2015.
- Revision received October 14, 2016.
- Accepted November 18, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.