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J Clin Oncol. 1995 Apr;13(4):884-93.

Localized resectable neuroblastoma: results of the second study of the Italian Cooperative Group for Neuroblastoma.

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  • 1Department of Hematology-Oncology, Giannina Gaslini Children's Hospital, Genova, Italy.



To optimize treatment for children with localized resectable neuroblastoma in 21 Italian institutions using a common protocol based on previous experience.


Between January 1985 and December 1992, 152 children aged 0 to 15 years with nondisseminated neuroblastoma were entered onto this study following complete resection of tumor without tumor rupture (TR) (stage 1), or resection with minimal tumor residue, and/or tumor infiltration of regional lymph nodes (LN+), and/or TR (stage 2). Of 144 assessable children, 69 were classified as having stage 1 disease and 75 as stage 2. Of stage 2 children, 49 had low-risk (LR) characteristics (age, 0 to 11 months or 1 to 15 years but negative lymph nodes and no TR). Stage 1 and stage 2 LR children did not receive adjuvant therapy. The remaining 26 stage 2 children had high-risk (HR) characteristics (age, 1 to 15 years with LN+ and/or TR) and received adjuvant chemotherapy for 6 months.


Of 144 children, three died of therapy-related complications and 19 relapsed, of whom six died of disease. The estimated 5-year overall survival (OS) rate was 93% and the event-free survival (EFS) rate was 83%. Of 69 stage 1 children, one died postoperatively and five relapsed (one local and four disseminated, two of whom died), for 94% OS and 90% EFS rates. Of 49 stage 2 LR children, six relapsed (four local and two disseminated); relapses occurred in five of 20 infants with LN+, in one of four infants with TR, and in none of the remaining 25 children. One child died of disease and one of toxicity, for 96% OS and 85% EFS rates. Of 26 stage 2 HR children, eight relapsed (three of 20 with LN+, three of four with TR, and two of two with LN+ and TR), of whom three died of disease and one of toxicity, for 87% OS and 61% EFS rates.


Our data confirm the overall good prognosis of children with localized resectable neuroblastoma. LN+ and TR predisposed to relapse at all ages, but infants tended to have a less aggressive course after relapse. Stage 1 and 2 LR children had 94% and 96% OS rates, respectively, which justifies a policy of no adjuvant chemotherapy. Eight of 26 children with stage 2 HR relapsed despite 6 months of chemotherapy; for these children, more intensive chemotherapy may be required.

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