To develop a gene expression-based classifier for neuroblastoma patients that reliably predicts courses of the disease.Two hundred fifty-one neuroblastoma specimens were analyzed using a customized oligonucleotide microarray comprising 10,163 probes for transcripts with differential expression in clinical subgroups of the disease. Subsequently, the prediction analysis for microarrays (PAM) was applied to a first set of patients with maximally divergent clinical courses (n = 77). The classification accuracy was estimated by a complete 10-times-repeated 10-fold cross validation, and a 144-gene predictor was constructed from this set. This classifier's predictive power was evaluated in an independent second set (n = 174) by comparing results of the gene expression-based classification with those of risk stratification systems of current trials from Germany, Japan, and the United States.The first set of patients was accurately predicted by PAM (cross-validated accuracy, 99\%). Within the second set, the PAM classifier significantly separated cohorts with distinct courses (3-year event-free survival EFS 0.86 +/- 0.03 favorable; n = 115 v 0.52 +/- 0.07 unfavorable; n = 59 and 3-year overall survival 0.99 +/- 0.01 v 0.84 +/- 0.05; both P < .0001) and separated risk groups of current neuroblastoma trials into subgroups with divergent outcome (NB2004: low-risk 3-year EFS 0.86 +/- 0.04 v 0.25 +/- 0.15, P < .0001; intermediate-risk 1.00 v 0.57 +/- 0.19, P = .018; high-risk 0.81 +/- 0.10 v 0.56 +/- 0.08, P = .06). In a multivariate Cox regression model, the PAM predictor classified patients of the second set more accurately than risk stratification of current trials from Germany, Japan, and the United States (P < .001; hazard ratio, 4.756 95\% CI, 2.544 to 8.893).Integration of gene expression-based class prediction of neuroblastoma patients may improve risk estimation of current neuroblastoma trials.