AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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New Biomarker Assay Detects Neuroblastoma With Greater Sensitivity

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Improved disease assessment aids in prediction of relapse in children

Investigators at The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have developed and tested a new biomarker assay for quantifying disease and detecting the presence of neuroblastoma even when standard evaluations yield negative results for the disease. In a study, led by Araz Marachelian, MD, of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, researchers provide the first systematic comparison of standard imaging evaluations versus the new assay that screens for five different neuroblastoma-associated genes and determine that the new assay improves disease assessment and provides prediction of disease progression. Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the nervous system that exists outside the brain and typically is diagnosed in children five years or age or younger. Forty-five percent of patients have high-risk, metastatic tumors (stage 4) when diagnosed.

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