MicroRNAs are small molecules which have recently been discovered in cells. They are known to
be responsible for the normal development of cells and when they are disrupted can contribute
to the development of cancer. Many previous studies have been done evaluating the expression
of microRNAs in normal tissues as well as in a wide variety of cancers.
Recently, microRNAs from tumor cells have been detected circulating in the blood of patients
with cancer. This presents a novel opportunity to assess the utility of microRNAs in the
blood as an early predictor of cancer as well as a marker of response to therapy. No previous
studies have been performed evaluating microRNAs in archived tumor tissue and blood of
patients with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1). The investigators propose a feasibility study
to evaluate the presence of microRNAs in archived tumor tissue and the blood of patients with
NF-1. If the investigators are able to identify circulating microRNAs in this population of
pediatric patients, they will build upon this data in proposing a future study.