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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

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

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of adding retinoic acid as part of a postconsolidation therapy after intensive chemotherapy (high‐dose chemotherapy) followed by autologous (from the same person) bone marrow transplantation (haematopoietic stem cell transplantation) in people with high‐risk neuroblastoma. A consolidation therapy tries to destroy possible remnant cancer cells after a preceding therapy has achieved the elimination of detectable tumour. A postconsolidation therapy is applied after that consolidation therapy. The addition of retinoic acid was compared to the same pretreatment but placebo (inactive) retinoic acid or no addition of retinoic acid for two primary and five secondary outcomes. The primary outcomes were overall survival (participants who did not die) and treatment‐related mortality (participants who died due to complications of the intervention). Secondary outcomes were progression‐free survival (the condition did not worsen), event‐free survival (staying free of any of a particular group of events), early and late toxicity (harmful effects), and health‐related quality of life.

Iodine‐131‐meta‐iodobenzylguanidine therapy for patients with newly diagnosed high‐risk neuroblastoma

We reviewed the evidence of the effectiveness and side effects of 131I‐meta‐iodobenzylguanidine (131I‐MIBG) therapy in patients with newly diagnosed high‐risk (HR) neuroblastoma (NBL).

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. Stem cell rescue replaces blood‐forming stem cells that were destroyed by high‐dose chemotherapy in order to recover the bone marrow. It is also known as myeloablative therapy and 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.

See all (27)

Summaries for consumers

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

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of adding retinoic acid as part of a postconsolidation therapy after intensive chemotherapy (high‐dose chemotherapy) followed by autologous (from the same person) bone marrow transplantation (haematopoietic stem cell transplantation) in people with high‐risk neuroblastoma. A consolidation therapy tries to destroy possible remnant cancer cells after a preceding therapy has achieved the elimination of detectable tumour. A postconsolidation therapy is applied after that consolidation therapy. The addition of retinoic acid was compared to the same pretreatment but placebo (inactive) retinoic acid or no addition of retinoic acid for two primary and five secondary outcomes. The primary outcomes were overall survival (participants who did not die) and treatment‐related mortality (participants who died due to complications of the intervention). Secondary outcomes were progression‐free survival (the condition did not worsen), event‐free survival (staying free of any of a particular group of events), early and late toxicity (harmful effects), and health‐related quality of life.

Iodine‐131‐meta‐iodobenzylguanidine therapy for patients with newly diagnosed high‐risk neuroblastoma

We reviewed the evidence of the effectiveness and side effects of 131I‐meta‐iodobenzylguanidine (131I‐MIBG) therapy in patients with newly diagnosed high‐risk (HR) neuroblastoma (NBL).

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. Stem cell rescue replaces blood‐forming stem cells that were destroyed by high‐dose chemotherapy in order to recover the bone marrow. It is also known as myeloablative therapy and 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.

See all (19)

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
Genetic, used as an adjective, refers to genes.
Hormones
A messenger molecule that helps coordinate the actions of various tissues; made in one part of the body and transported, via the bloodstream, to tissues and organs elsewhere 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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