Purpose: The aim of this study was to study the prognostic significance of circulating tumor cells (CTC) and the appropriate indications for aggressive surgery in advanced neuroblastoma. Materials and Methods: Micrometastasis was sequentially explored using our reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction method in 29 neuroblastoma patients (International Neuroblastoma Staging System stage 4, n = 24; stage 3, n = 5) who treated at our department with the united chemotherapeutic regimen since 1991. Their medical records and detection of CTC and/or the bone marrow micrometastasis were retrospectively reviewed then analyzed statistically. Results: The overall survival rate was 58.6% (17/29). Circulating tumor cells were detected in 55.6% of the stage 4 patients, and all deaths were related to systemic metastases in the CTC-positive patients. The detection of CTC scarcely associated with MYCN amplification. In the patients showing MYCN amplification but no CTC, all deaths were related to local relapse or chemotherapy-associated complications. The survival rate was not significantly different between the patients with and without MYCN amplification (56.8% vs 52.7%). However, it was significantly lower in the patients with CTC and/or persistent bone marrow micrometastasis compared to those without detectable micrometastasis (33.8% vs 87.5%; P < .05). Conclusions: The presence of CTC and/or persistent micrometastasis may indicate a significantly high risk, regardless of MYCN amplification. Patients with MYCN amplification but no micrometastasis would be most benefited by highly intensive surgery.
- Circulating tumor cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health