Which physical findings are characteristic of pediatric neuroblastoma?

Updated: Oct 09, 2017
  • Author: Norman J Lacayo, MD; Chief Editor: Max J Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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The following may be noted in patients with neuroblastoma:

  • Children are usually referred to a pediatric oncologist by primary care providers who have identified a persistent unexplained symptom or sign, either upon physical examination or based on screening test findings.

  • In patients with suspected neuroblastoma, performing a thorough examination with careful attention to vital signs (eg, blood pressure), neck, chest, abdomen, skin, and nervous system is essential.

  • Metastatic lesions of the skin are common in infants younger than 6 months and may represent stage 4S disease.

  • Examination of the abdomen may reveal an abdominal mass, leading to the appropriate workup.

  • Neurologic examination may reveal Horner syndrome. In the case of dumbbell tumors, compression of the spinal cord may produce lower extremity weakness or paraplegia. Patients with neurologic involvement by tumor should be treated emergently, secondary to the risk of permanent neurologic sequelae.

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