Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus. The term neuro refers to nerves, while blastoma refers to a cancer that affects immature or developing cells. This type of cancer occurs most often in infants and young children. It is rarely found in children older than 10 years. Twenty-seven tumours (20.1%) were detected prenatally. Localised disease prevailed (65.7%) with an increase of stage 1 patients over time from 18.8% to 46.5%. Disseminated disease accounted for 34.3% of tumors with only one stage 4 and 45 stage 4S. Five-year overall survival (OS) of the entire cohort was 88.3%. Five/88 patients with localised disease died, including three who died of complications (OS, 95.3%). The only stage 4 patient survived.
This is important, because neuroblastoma cells often release certain hormones that can cause symptoms. Neuroblastomas are cancers that start in early nerve cells (called neuroblasts) of the sympathetic nervous system, so they can be found anywhere along this system. A little more than 1 out of 3 neuroblastomas start in the adrenal glands. About 1 out of 4 begin in sympathetic nerve ganglia in the abdomen. Most of the rest start in sympathetic ganglia near the spine in the chest or neck, or in the pelvis. Ganglioneuroblastoma is a tumor that has both malignant and benign parts. It contains neuroblasts (immature nerve cells) that can grow and spread abnormally, similar to neuroblastoma, as well as areas of more mature tissue that are similar to ganglioneuroma.