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Eur J Cancer. 1991;27(6):762-5.

Detection of tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA and minimal neuroblastoma cells by the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


To facilitate the diagnosis of bone marrow metastasis in neuroblastoma, we have developed a method of amplifying and detecting the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) mRNA sequence in bone marrow cells using a combination of reverse transcription and the polymerase chain reaction (RT/PCR). By this method, the sequence of TH was detected clearly in the neuroblastoma tissues of all 6 patients and not detected in the bone marrow cells of any of the 9 negative control children. In a reconstitution experiment, 1 neuroblastoma cell per 100,000 normal bone marrow cells could be detected, thus indicating the great sensitivity of this method. Based on these results, this technique may be of value in the diagnosis and treatment follow-up of bone marrow metastasis of neuroblastoma.

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