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Neuroblastoma

Cancer that arises in immature nerve cells and affects mostly infants and children.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in nerve tissue of the adrenal gland, neck, chest, or spinal cord.

Neuroblastoma often begins in the nerve tissue of the adrenal glands. There are two adrenal glands, one on top of each kidney in the back of the upper abdomen. The adrenal glands make important hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and the way the body reacts to stress. Neuroblastoma may also begin in the abdomen, in the chest, in nerve tissue near the spine in the neck, or in the spinal cord.

Neuroblastoma most often begins during early childhood, usually in children younger than 5 years of age. It is found when the tumor begins to grow and cause signs or symptoms. Sometimes it forms before birth and is found during a fetal ultrasound... Read more about Neuroblastoma

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Rapid COJEC versus standard induction therapies for high‐risk neuroblastoma

High‐risk neuroblastoma is a rare malignant disease and mainly affects infants and very young children. The tumors mainly develop in the core part (medulla) of the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is located on top of the kidneys. A tumor increasing in size would primarily expected to appear in the belly. High‐risk means patients having one or several clinical symptoms or signs, such as metastasis or specific genetic features, which are known to increase the risk for an adverse outcome. The assignment to a high‐risk group is defined by the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) classification system. In the rapid COJEC induction schedule, higher single doses of selected drugs than standard induction schedules are administered over a substantially shorter treatment period, with shorter intervals between cycles. Shorter intervals and higher doses increase the dose intensity of chemotherapy and might improve survival.

Retinoic acid after intensive chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation in patient with high‐risk neuroblastoma

High‐risk neuroblastoma is a rare malignant disease and mainly affects infants and very young children. The tumors mainly develop in the medullary tissue of the endocrine gland located on the top of the kidneys, the adrenal gland. The most common presentation is an abdominal mass. High‐risk means one or several clinical symptoms or signs such as metastasis (that is the spread of tumors to other parts of the body distant to the original tumor location) or specific genetic features that are known to increase the risk for an adverse outcome. The assignment to a high‐risk group is defined by the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) classification system. About 50% of patients have metastatic disease at diagnosis and they have a poor prognosis. Retinoic acid has been shown to inhibit growth of human neuroblastoma cells and was considered as a potential candidate for improving the outcome of patients with high‐risk neuroblastoma. We wanted to evaluate the currently available literature to see if addition of a retinoic acid treatment after high‐dose chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplantation may have a survival benefit.

High‐dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant compared to conventional therapy for children with high‐risk neuroblastoma

Despite the development of new treatment options, the prognosis of high‐risk neuroblastoma patients still remains poor; in more than half of patients the disease returns. High‐dose chemotherapy and haematopoietic stem cell rescue, also known as myeloablative therapy, might improve the survival of these patients. A well‐informed decision on the use of myeloablative therapy in the treatment of children with high‐risk neuroblastoma should be based on high quality evidence of effectiveness for treating tumours and side effects.

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Summaries for consumers

Neuroblastoma Screening (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about tests used to detect or screen for neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of childhood neuroblastoma.

Rapid COJEC versus standard induction therapies for high‐risk neuroblastoma

High‐risk neuroblastoma is a rare malignant disease and mainly affects infants and very young children. The tumors mainly develop in the core part (medulla) of the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is located on top of the kidneys. A tumor increasing in size would primarily expected to appear in the belly. High‐risk means patients having one or several clinical symptoms or signs, such as metastasis or specific genetic features, which are known to increase the risk for an adverse outcome. The assignment to a high‐risk group is defined by the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) classification system. In the rapid COJEC induction schedule, higher single doses of selected drugs than standard induction schedules are administered over a substantially shorter treatment period, with shorter intervals between cycles. Shorter intervals and higher doses increase the dose intensity of chemotherapy and might improve survival.

See all (20)

Terms to know

Adrenal Glands
A gland located on each kidney that secretes hormones regulating metabolism, sexual function, water balance, and stress.
Biopsy
A procedure in which a tiny piece of a body part, such as the colon or liver, is removed for examination with a microscope.
Cancer (Malignant Neoplasm)
A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
Genetic
Inherited; having to do with information that is passed from parents to offspring through genes in sperm and egg cells.
Hormones
A chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that tells other cells when to use glucose for energy. Synthetic hormones, made for use as medicines, can be the same or different from those made in the body.
Nerves
A bundle of fibers that receives and sends messages between the body and the brain. The messages are sent by chemical and electrical changes in the cells that make up the nerves.
Spinal Cord
A column of nerve tissue that runs from the base of the skull down the back. It is surrounded by three protective membranes, and is enclosed within the vertebrae (back bones). The spinal cord and the brain make up the central nervous system, and spinal cord nerves carry most messages between the brain and the rest of the body.
Tissue
A group of cells that act together to carry out a specific function in the body. Examples include muscle tissue, nervous system tissue (including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves), and connective tissue (including ligaments, tendons, bones, and fat). Organs are made up of tissues.

More about Neuroblastoma

Photo of a child

Other terms to know: See all 8
Adrenal Glands, Biopsy, Cancer (Malignant Neoplasm)

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