Purpose: To prospectively analyze the outcome of patients with Stage A neuroblastoma (NB) treated with surgery alone, especially with regard to the prognostic significance of age, tumor site, MYCN copy number, tumor cell ploidy, and histology.
Patients and methods: The clinical course of 329 patients with Stage A disease registered on the POG NB Biology Study #9047 between February, 1990 and October, 1997 were evaluated. Age, tumor site, MYCN copy number, tumor cell ploidy, and histology were analyzed for their impact on event-free survival (EFS) and survival (S).
Results: The 5-year estimated EFS and S rates for the 329 patients were 91% (+/-3%) and 96% (+/-2%), respectively. The EFS rate was similar for infants younger than 12 months and children age 12 months or older, but age older than 12 months was predictive of lower S rates (P = 0.044). Patients with adrenal, abdominal non-adrenal, thoracic, and cervical tumors had similar S rates. The majority of patients had tumors with favorable biologic features, and only 3% had MYCN amplification. For infants with diploid tumors, the EFS rate was 82% (+/-16%), but effective therapy yielded an S rate of 100%. Rate of S was 80% (+/-26%) and 64% (+/-27%) for patients with unfavorable tumor histology and MYCN-amplified tumors, respectively.
Conclusion: The outcome for patients with Stage A NB treated with surgery alone is excellent. Although EFS and S rates were significantly worse for patients with MYCN-amplified tumors, a subset achieved long-term remission after surgery alone. For patients with Stage A and MYCN amplification, additional factors are needed to distinguish the patients who will achieve long-term remission with surgery alone from those who will develop recurrent disease.