• Prognostic factors;
  • childhood cancer;
  • oncogenes


Neuroblastoma, a tumor of the sympathetic nervous system, is one of the most common solid malignancies in infants and represents 7% of all cases of childhood cancer outside of the central nervous system. Thirty-five samples of neuroblastoma from 31 patients were obtained from Duke University Medical Center between 1979 and 1991 and studied to determine the relative prognostic value of a number of clinical, histologic, nuclear, and oncogenic features. The features studied were: stage, Shimada classification, DNA ploidy, MIB-1-proliferation index and status for HER-2/neu, p53 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr). Only age (P = .03), HER-2/neu (P = .01), and p53 (P = .02) reached statistical significance as prognostic indicators. The median survival for patients with no HER-2/neu expression was 12 months; median survival for patients with no HER-2/neu expression was 138 months. Similary, the median survival for patients with p53 expression was 12 months; patients with no p53 expression had a median survival was 144 months. The combination of either HER-2/neu or p53 positivity was especially strong as a prognostic indicator (p = .002).