Consensus criteria for sensitive detection of minimal neuroblastoma cells in bone marrow, blood and stem cell preparations by immunocytology and QRT-PCR: recommendations by the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group Task Force

Br J Cancer. 2009 May 19;100(10):1627-37. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605029. Epub 2009 Apr 28.


Disseminating disease is a predictive and prognostic indicator of poor outcome in children with neuroblastoma. Its accurate and sensitive assessment can facilitate optimal treatment decisions. The International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) Task Force has defined standardised methods for the determination of minimal disease (MD) by immunocytology (IC) and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (QRT-PCR) using disialoganglioside G(D2) and tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA respectively. The INRG standard operating procedures (SOPs) define methods for collecting, processing and evaluating bone marrow (BM), peripheral blood (PB) and peripheral blood stem cell harvest by IC and QRT-PCR. Sampling PB and BM is recommended at diagnosis, before and after myeloablative therapy and at the end of treatment. Peripheral blood stem cell products should be analysed at the time of harvest. Performing MD detection according to INRG SOPs will enable laboratories throughout the world to compare their results and thus facilitate quality-controlled multi-centre prospective trials to assess the clinical significance of MD and minimal residual disease in heterogeneous patient groups.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Algorithms
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Consensus
  • Health Planning Guidelines
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Immunohistochemistry / standards*
  • Neoplasm, Residual
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / pathology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Neuroblastoma / blood
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Reference Standards
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / standards*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Specimen Handling / standards