Neonatal cancer

Lancet Oncol. 2013 Dec;14(13):e609-20. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70236-5.


Neonatal cancer is rare and comprises a heterogeneous group of neoplasms with substantial histological diversity. Almost all types of paediatric cancer can occur in fetuses and neonates; however, the presentation and behaviour of neonatal tumours often differs from that in older children, leading to differences in diagnosis and management. The causes of neonatal cancer are unclear, but genetic factors probably have a key role. Other congenital abnormalities are frequently present. Teratoma and neuroblastoma are the most common histological types of neonatal cancer, with soft-tissue sarcoma, leukaemia, renal tumours, and brain tumours also among the more frequent types. Prenatal detection, most often on routine ultrasound or in the context of a known predisposition syndrome, is becoming more common. Treatment options pose challenges because of the particular vulnerability of the population. Neonatal cancer raises diagnostic, therapeutic, and ethical issues, and management requires a multidisciplinary approach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / therapy
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnosis
  • Delivery, Obstetric*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy
  • Leukemia / diagnosis
  • Leukemia / therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / therapy
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnosis
  • Neuroblastoma / therapy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Retinoblastoma / diagnosis
  • Retinoblastoma / therapy
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / therapy
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / therapy