Service de génétique, Département de biologie clinique, Institut Gustave-Roussy, 94800 Villejuif.
Neuroblastoma is a very common solid tumor which arises in childhood and shows an extreme heterogeneity at the clinical, histological and genetic levels. Besides age and stage, N-myc amplification and 1p deletion are prognostic factors of the disease: in Europe, these genetic markers are used to conduct therapy. In France, N-myc amplification is a factor of bad prognosis which leads, in all forms of the disease including localised forms and metastatic forms of children aged of less than 1 year, to a myeloablative treatment with autologous hematopoietic stem cells transplantation. By contrast, N-myc amplification has no impact on the survival of children aged of more than 1 year with a poor prognosis (30% overall survival, 5 years) but this genetic abnormality is taken into account to treat primary tumor of these patients. In an attempt to find out prognostic factors of these aggressive forms of the disease, various pathways (apoptosis, differentiation angiogenesis, detoxication, immune response) have been recently surveyed, but studies have been carried out on a limited number of genes. Moreover, experimental models of human metastatic neuroblastoma have been obtained in which variations of genes transcript levels involved in these pathways, are observed. The current break-through of cDNA microarrays allows to develop a dynamic transcriptomic scanning of these models as well as of tumors and bone marrows from patients upon conventional chemotherapy. This technology will enable: i) to define molecular entities of the metastatic disease ; ii) to apply adapted treatment ; iii) to develop new therapeutic strategies.