Introduction

Neuroblastomas (NBs) have heterogeneous biologic, genetic, and morphologic features and are characterized by diverse clinical behavior. Although the biological basis for this diversity is poorly understood, many molecular features, such as DNA index, oncogene amplification, and tumor suppressor gene loss, have been identified that correlate with clinically relevant aspects of the disease. Because of this strong relationship between biology and clinical phenotype, molecular classification is playing an increasingly important role in stratifying therapy for patients with NB. The identification of tumor-specific molecular alterations and the characterization of critical pathways regulating tumor growth are likely to further refine our ability to diagnose and classify NB, and may lead to the identification of therapeutic targets. Completion of a draft sequence of the entire human genome and the development of miniaturized high throughput technology for comprehensive genetic analysis now permit the monitoring of every gene in a single experiment and provide parallel analysis of the complex coordinated pathways that contribute to the clinical phenotype of cancers (Ra-maswamy and Golub 2002). This chapter provides an overview to comprehensive gene expression profiling of NB as a means to define the molecular pathology of this disease.

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