Fetal neuroblastoma: prenatal diagnosis and natural history

J Pediatr Surg. 1993 Sep;28(9):1168-74. doi: 10.1016/0022-3468(93)90157-g.


Obstetrical sonography has helped diagnose and define the features of some congenital malformations and tumors. We present five fetal neuroblastomas detected by routine prenatal sonography. All were adrenal tumors diagnosed between 26 and 39 weeks gestation. All 5 tumors were completely resected postnatally and the patients have remained disease free from 2 months to 10 years after resection without adjuvant therapy. A literature review collated 16 other cases of fetal neuroblastoma detected by sonography between 29 and 38 weeks gestation. These cases included 1 cervical, 1 thoracic, and 14 adrenal tumors. Thirteen neonates had Evans stage I or II tumors, and three had more advanced disease. Eleven mothers did not have hypertension or preeclampsia during the pregnancy, and the neonates all had stage I or II disease. Four mothers had hypertension or preeclampsia. Three of these neonates had stage IV or IVS disease with liver metastases, and all three had fetal hydrops. Review of the congenital neuroblastoma literature documented 71 cases diagnosed soon after birth, and several of these cases had unusual features that could have been detected by prenatal ultrasound. Four of the tumors were so large that dystocia resulted and fetal dismemberment was required for delivery. Eight of the tumors metastasized to the placenta, and 1 metastasized to the umbilical cord with subsequent fetal death. We conclude that fetal neuroblastoma can be diagnosed by prenatal sonography. Accurate staging is difficult by sonography, but in mothers with no preeclampsia symptoms the chance of widely disseminated disease is small.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fetal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neuroblastoma / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*