Neuroblastoma (NB) is a common childhood malignant tumor of the neural crest-derived sympathetic nervous system. In NB the frequent loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on chromosome 1p raises the possibility that this region contains tumor-suppressor genes whose inactivation contributes to tumorigenesis. The human homolog of the Drosophila neural fate determination gene CASZ1, a zinc-finger transcription factor, maps to chromosome 1p36.22, a region implicated in NB tumorigenesis. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that low-CASZ1 expression is significantly correlated with increased age (≥18 months), Children's Oncology Group high-risk classification, 1p LOH and MYCN amplification (all P<0.0002) and decreased survival probability (P=0.0009). CASZ1 was more highly expressed in NB with a differentiated histopathology (P<0.0001). Retinoids and epigenetic modification agents associated with regulation of differentiation induced CASZ1 expression. Expression profiling analysis revealed that CASZ1 regulates the expression of genes involved in regulation of cell growth and developmental processes. Specific restoration of CASZ1 in NB cells induced cell differentiation, enhanced cell adhesion, inhibited migration and suppressed tumorigenicity. These data are consistent with CASZ1 being a critical modulator of neural cell development, and that somatically acquired disruption of normal CASZ1 expression contributes to the malignant phenotype of human NB.