Send to

Choose Destination
J Pediatr Surg. 2006 Sep;41(9):1506-12.

Prognostic significance of biochemical heterogeneity of catecholaminergic clones in neuroblastoma.

Author information

Department of Surgical Oncology, National Research Institute of Mother and Child, 01-211 Warsaw, Poland.



Genetic heterogeneity of neuroblastic tumors leads to biochemical changes that manifest themselves in different symptoms and clinical courses, which may vary from spontaneous regression and remission to progression with fatal outcome.


To test the hypothesis that ratios of dopamine (DA) to noradrenaline and of DA to vanillylmandelic acid reflect the composition of adrenergic clones and tumor heterogeneity, we determined urinary DA/noradrenaline and DA/vanillylmandelic acid ratios that presumably reflect DA-beta-hydroxylase (DBH) activity and the prognostic values thereof.


Based on catecholamine metabolism, 4 model situations were defined: (a) complete block of DBH in all cells; (b) block of DBH in some cells; (c) a different enzymatic block; and (d) normal DBH activity in the population of tumor-forming cells. Normal DBH activity was encountered most frequently in children younger than 2 years and in tumors representing favorable prognostic stages (I, II, and IVS). Surviving children with stage IV neuroblastoma presented with tumors composed primarily of cells without the DBH block. Further stratification of 2 prognostically poor groups (stages IV and III + IV) was possible with respect to DBH activity.


Differential production of neurotransmitters in a population of tumor cells may be explained in terms of tumor heterogeneity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center