Neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid tumour of childhood, is derived from neural crest progenitor cells. The TFAP2a transcription factor regulates neural crest patterning. We analysed TFAP2a protein expression in 97 primary neuroblastic tumors and report that TFAP2a was strongly expressed in poorly differentiated neuroblastomas. TFAP2a expression in tumor cells of differentiated neuroblastic tumors was below detection. TFAP2a was strongly expressed in 4 of 6 neuroblastoma cell lines tested, and TFAP2a siRNA mediated knock down in SH-EP cells reduced proliferation and induced a more differentiated phenotype associated with an increase in the expression of the differentiation marker neurotensin.