Opportunities and challenges of circulating biomarkers in neuroblastoma

Open Biol. 2019 May 31;9(5):190056. doi: 10.1098/rsob.190056.


Molecular analysis of nucleic acid and protein biomarkers is becoming increasingly common in paediatric oncology for diagnosis, risk stratification and molecularly targeted therapeutics. However, many current and emerging biomarkers are based on analysis of tumour tissue, which is obtained through invasive surgical procedures and in some cases may not be accessible. Over the past decade, there has been growing interest in the utility of circulating biomarkers such as cell-free nucleic acids, circulating tumour cells and extracellular vesicles as a so-called liquid biopsy of cancer. Here, we review the potential of emerging circulating biomarkers in the management of neuroblastoma and highlight challenges to their implementation in the clinic.

Keywords: ALK; MYCN; cell-free DNA; circulating biomarkers; neuroblastoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids / blood
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liquid Biopsy
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnosis
  • Neuroblastoma / drug therapy
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids