Neuroblastoma is the second most common solid tumour in childhood, affecting just under 100 children a year in the UK. Neuroblastoma is a tumour of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), most often occurring in the abdomen. More than half the patients present at less than 2 years of age, with 90% occurring within the first 8 years of life. This is a highly malignant tumour with more than 50% presenting at advanced stages.
Optimal surgical excision of the tumour is important and has to be combined with various combinations of intensive chemotherapy, megatherapy with autologous stem cell transplantation, radiotherapy and new techniques in the management of minimal residual disease. Neuroblastoma is a cancer of specialised nerve cells, called neural crest cells. These cells are involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues. Neuroblastoma can occur anywhere in the body, but it most often occurs in one of the adrenal glands, in the abdomen. In some children, the neuroblastoma occurs in nerve tissue alongside the spinal cord in the neck, chest, abdomen or pelvis.