Current aspects of biology, risk assessment, and treatment of neuroblastoma

Semin Surg Oncol. 1999 Mar;16(2):91-104. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-2388(199903)16:2<91::aid-ssu3>;2-1.


Neuroblastoma is one of the most intensely studied solid malignancies that affect the pediatric age groups; its clinical presentation, treatment strategies and ultimate prognosis vary greatly. The biologic and genetic character of each tumor has an important impact on disease behavior, and clinical staging now incorporates these factors to generate an overall therapy plan. The clinical presentation of neuroblastoma is related to primary tumor location, production of metabolically active substances, and the presence of metastatic disease. There are also prognostically important associated syndromes including opsoclonus-myoclonus, Horner's syndrome, neurofibromatosis, and a variety of other neurocristopathies. The histologic features of the tumor are of prognostic significance and are utilized in treatment stratification. The International Neuroblastoma Staging System (INSS) has unified classic clinical staging. Features at diagnosis and those determined by initial operation are combined with biologic prognostic factors to achieve risk group assignment for virtually all patients. There are groups of children in which limited therapy is curative and intermediate-risk situations where standard multimodality treatment provides favorable outcomes. Unfortunately, there are many patients with high-risk disease that require intensive strategies, but success is still limited. It is in these most resistant patients that innovative approaches are being undertaken and novel strategies are being investigated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Neuroblastoma / therapy*