Introduction

The clinical behavior as well as the associated histopathologic features of neuroblastomas (NB) have long suggested that tumorigenesis of this pedi-atric cancer is, at least in part, related to defects in the process of cellular differentiation. Primary and metastatic NBs consist of different cell types, and the cells commonly have different stages of differentiation. The histologically more mature forms of NB, ganglioneuroblastoma and ganglioneuroma, correspond to the normal differentiation patterns seen in the developing sympathetic nervous system. Moreover, the histologic classification of NB into subsets based on the extent of differentiation, the presence of stroma or Schwannian tissue, and the degree of mi-totic/karyorrhectic cells when combined with age is highly predictive of outcome (Shimada et al. 1984).

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