Purpose: Detection of metastatic tumor cells in bone marrow (BM) and peripheral blood (PB) of children with neuroblastoma is crucial for prognosis and planning of therapy. Aims of this large descriptive repeated survey were to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of different techniques in diagnostic samples obtained at several disease course time points and to correlate positive results with patient clinical features and outcome. Experimental Design: BM aspirates, trephine biopsies, PB, and peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) samples from Italian children with neuroblastoma were analyzed by morphological and histologic techniques, as well as by immunocytochemistry (IC) for disialoganglioside GD2 and reverse transcription-PCRs (RT-PCRs) for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and pgp9.5 genes. The diagnostic odd ratio (DOR) was used to measure the accuracy of the different techniques. Results: A total of 2,247 evaluations were done on 561 BM, 265 PB, and 69 PBSC samples from 247 patients. IC showed the best accuracy. Whereas TH RT-PCR accuracy was satisfactory, that of pgp9.5 was very low. Positive results obtained by IC in BM and PB samples at diagnosis from stage 1, 2, and 3 patients correlated with unfavourable outcome. No correlation was found between positive results obtained by IC or TH RT-PCR in BM, PB, and PBSC samples from stage 4 patients and their outcome. Conclusions: Because of its elevated diagnostic accuracy, IC may represent a useful adjunct to conventional morphological techniques, especially in view of its potential prognostic role in patients with localized disease. Longitudinal multicenter studies are warranted to definitely establish the clinical usefulness of TH RT-PCR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research