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1.  Influence of Neuroblastoma Stage on Serum-Based Detection of MYCN Amplification 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2009;53(3):329-331.
Background
MYCN oncogene amplification has been defined as the most important prognostic factor for neuroblastoma, the most common solid extracranial neoplasm in children. High copy numbers are strongly associated with rapid tumor progression and poor outcome, independently of tumor stage or patient age, and this has become an important factor in treatment stratification.
Procedure
By Real Time Quantitative PCR analysis, we evaluated the clinical relevance of circulating MYCN DNA of 267 patients with locoregional or metastatic neuroblastoma in children less than 18 months of age.
Results
For patients in this age group with INSS stage 4 or 4S NB and stage 3 patients, serum-based determination of MYCN DNA sequences had good sensitivity (85%, 83% and 75% respectively) and high specificity (100%) when compared to direct tumor gene determination. In contrast, the approach showed low sensitivity patients with stage 1 and 2 disease.
Conclusion
Our results show that the sensitivity of the serum-based MYCN DNA sequence determination depends on the stage of the disease. However, this simple, reproducible assay may represent a reasonably sensitive and very specific tool to assess tumor MYCN status in cases with stage 3 and metastatic disease for whom a wait and see strategy is often recommended.
doi:10.1002/pbc.22009
PMCID: PMC2857568  PMID: 19301388
Circulating DNA; MYCN amplification; neuroblastoma
2.  Gene Therapy for Pediatric Cancer: State of the Art and Future Perspectives 
While modern treatments have led to a dramatic improvement in survival for pediatric malignancy, toxicities are high and a significant proportion of patients remain resistant. Gene transfer offers the prospect of highly specific therapies for childhood cancer. “Corrective” genes may be transferred to overcome the genetic abnormalities present in the precancerous cell. Alternatively, genes can be introduced to render the malignant cell sensitive to therapeutic drugs. The tumor can also be attacked by decreasing its blood supply with genes that inhibit vascular growth. Another possible approach is to modify normal tissues with genes that make them more resistant to conventional drugs and/or radiation, thereby increasing the therapeutic index. Finally, it may be possible to attack the tumor indirectly by using genes that modify the behavior of the immune system, either by making the tumor more immunogenic, or by rendering host effector cells more efficient. Several gene therapy applications have already been reported for pediatric cancer patients in preliminary Phase 1 studies. Although no major clinical success has yet been achieved, improvements in gene delivery technologies and a better understanding of mechanisms of tumor progression and immune escape have opened new perspectives for the cure of pediatric cancer by combining gene therapy with standard therapeutic available treatments.
doi:10.1155/S1110724303209025
PMCID: PMC179759  PMID: 12686719

Results 1-2 (2)