How are pediatric neuroblastoma detected?

Updated: Oct 09, 2017
  • Author: Norman J Lacayo, MD; Chief Editor: Max J Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Most patients present with signs and symptoms related to tumor growth, although small tumors have been detected due to the common use of prenatal ultrasonography. Large abdominal tumors often result in increased abdominal girth and other local symptoms (eg, pain). Paraspinal dumbbell tumors can extend into the spinal canal, impinge on the spinal cord, and cause neurologic dysfunction.

Stage of the tumor at the time of diagnosis and age of the patient are the most important prognostic factors. Although patients with localized tumors (regardless of age) have an excellent outcome (80-90% 3-year event-free survival [EFS] rate), patients older than 18 months with metastatic disease fare poorly. Generally, more than 50% of patients present with metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis, 20-25% have localized disease, 15% have regional extension, and approximately 7% present during infancy with disseminated disease limited to the skin, liver, and bone marrow (stage 4S).

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