Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops in the sympathetic nervous system, which is the network of nerves that carries messages from the brain throughout the body. The cancer develops as solid tumors lumps or masses in the adrenal glands, abdomen, neck, chest, or pelvis. The tumors can also spread to other parts of the body such as the bones and blood-forming bone marrow. This monoclonal antibody (mAb) improves survival in children with stage 4 neuroblastoma, which has a very poor prognosis. Neuroblastoma is a very rare type of cancer in children. In the Netherlands there are an average of 25 new cases each year, most of which can be cured.
Low-risk neuroblastoma usually involves infants and children who have very small tumors that can easily be removed through surgery. Intermediate-risk disease is typically diagnosed in children who have larger tumors that haven’t spread to other parts of the body, or children younger than 18 months old whose tumors also haven’t spread. High-risk neuroblastoma includes disease that has spread and is diagnosed after 18 months of age, as well as patients with tumors found to contain the genetic characteristic known as MYCN amplification regardless of age or whether the disease has spread.