Recommendations for the Standardization of Bone Marrow Disease Assessment and Reporting in Children With Neuroblastoma on Behalf of the International Neuroblastoma Response Criteria Bone Marrow Working Group

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The current study was conducted to expedite international standardized reporting of bone marrow disease in children with neuroblastoma and to improve equivalence of care.

METHODS:

A multidisciplinary International Neuroblastoma Response Criteria Bone Marrow Working Group was convened by the US National Cancer Institute in January 2012 with representation from Europe, North America, and Australia. Practical transferable recommendations to standardize the reporting of bone marrow disease were developed.

RESULTS:

To the authors' knowledge, the current study is the first to comprehensively present consensus criteria for the collection, analysis, and reporting of the percentage area of bone marrow parenchyma occupied by tumor cells in trephine-biopsies. The quantitative analysis of neuroblastoma content in bone marrow aspirates by immunocytology and reverse transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction are revised. The inclusion of paired-like homeobox 2b (PHOX2B) for immunohistochemistry and reverse transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction is recommended. Recommendations for recording bone marrow response are provided. The authors endorse the quantitative assessment of neuroblastoma cell content in bilateral core needle biopsies-trephines and aspirates in all children with neuroblastoma, with the exception of infants, in whom the evaluation of aspirates alone is advised. It is interesting to note that 5% disease is accepted as an internationally achievable level for disease assessment.

CONCLUSIONS:

The quantitative assessment of neuroblastoma cells is recommended to provide data from which evidence-based numerical criteria for the reporting of bone marrow response can be realized. This is particularly important in the minimal disease setting and when neuroblastoma detection in bone marrow is intermittent, where clinical impact has yet to be validated. The wide adoption of these harmonized criteria will enhance the ability to compare outcomes from different trials and facilitate collaborative trial design.

Practical transferable recommendations with which to standardize the quantitative reporting of bone marrow disease in children with neuroblastoma are provided by the multidisciplinary International Neuroblastoma Response Criteria Bone Marrow Working Group. The wide adoption of these harmonized criteria will enhance the ability to compare outcomes from different trials and facilitate collaborative trial design.

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