Ocular involvement in neuroblastoma: prognostic implications

Ophthalmology. 1984 Aug;91(8):936-40. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(84)34211-7.


Neuroblastoma is one of the commonest childhood malignancies. The most important prognostic factor is age at diagnosis; early diagnosis, when the tumor is still localized and surgically resectable, is second in importance. On retrospective review of children seen at the Hospital for Sick Children, ophthalmic involvement was seen in 80 of 405 (20%). The three major eye signs of neuroblastoma, proptosis, Horner's syndrome and opsoclonus, are closely related to the site, stage of tumor, and outcome of the patient. Proptosis or periorbital ecchymosis due to orbital metastases was present in 60 of 80 children (bilaterally in 33). The 3-year survival rate was 11.2%. In 53 of 60 cases with orbital metastases the neuroblastoma originated in the abdomen. Unilateral Horner's syndrome occurred in 14 children, as the presenting sign in 9, related to localized disease in 11 and in a favorable location (cervical or thoracic neuroblastoma) in 8. The 3-year survival rate was 78.6%. Opsoclonus-myoclonus was the presenting sign of occult, localized neuroblastoma in all 9 children in whom it occurred. The 3-year survival rate was 100%. For all presentations, girls had a significantly better survival rate than boys (48.7% vs. 22.4%). Children presenting with any of these ophthalmological signs should undergo thorough and repeated investigations searching for neuroblastoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Exophthalmos / etiology*
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Horner Syndrome / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnosis
  • Neuroblastoma / mortality
  • Neuroblastoma / secondary*
  • Orbital Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Orbital Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors