Neuroblastoma is a pediatric cancer for which a cure is elusive for most children with disseminated disease. Neuroblastomas possess receptors for somatostatin (SS). Some SS analogues can inhibit their proliferation. In addition, when SS analogues were used as agents for scintigraphy, neuroblastoma tumor sites can be localized with high efficiency. In this study, to better characterize the SS receptor subtype(s) (sstl-5) present in primary tumors and metastases of neuroblastoma, we show that: (1) The ligand <sup>125</sup>I-Tyr<sup>11</sup>-SS-14 binding on membrane proteins from primary tumors and metastases of neuroblastoma cell line IGR-N-91 developed in nude mice shows similar values of K<sub>d</sub> (in order of 0.1 n M) and B<sub>max</sub> (in order of fmol/mg) by filter-retention assay. These data are close to those measured on two other neuroblastoma cell lines: SK-N-SH and IGR-N-835 or to that measured on the rat cerebral cortex. (2) The IGR-N-91 sublines derived from primary tumor and metastases show one major complex of 57 kD by the chemical cross-linking assay using the ligands: <sup>125</sup>I-SS-14 and <sup>125</sup>I-BIM23014. One similar major complex of 57 kD was also detected in SK-N-SH and IGR-N-835 or in the cerebral cortex. (3) Addition of excess nonlabeled peptides selective for sst2 (BIM23014, BIM23060, BIM23068) suppressed the formation of the complex 57 kD whereas addition of BIM23052 or BIM23056 (sst5 and sst3 selective respectively) does not. This pharmacological profile corresponds to sst2. (4) Only RNA message of sst2 gene is detected in IGR-N-91 cells and its metastases derived sublines by reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Northern hybridization in keeping with the presence of sst2. (5) In human biopsies, the complex of 57 kD corresponding to sst2 is consistently detected in three samples of the histological subset of the disease: benign ganglioneuroma, ganglioneuroblastoma and immature neuroblastoma. Therefore, the sst2 should be considered as the primary target to develop more potent SS analogues for neuroblastoma therapy or/and scintigraphy.