According to current data available, neuroblastoma is the most frequent extracranial solid tumor in infants and children; because of its relationship to the primitive sympathetic ganglia, it may progress or regress spontaneously to more malignant or benign forms of tumors, respectively. It is also an important cause of the Opsoclonus Myoclonus Ataxia Syndrome (OMAS), or the "dancing eyes"syndrome. The risk factor of neuroblastoma includes patient's age at diagnosis; degree of tumor spread, and selected biologic variables such as serum LDH, urinary and serum catecholamines such as VMA and HVA, ploidy and MYCN copy numbers. So, detection of risk factors and risk directed therapy are the mainstay of patient management.
Materials & Methods
For this study the records of 43 out of 46 patients, aged less than 14 years, admitted over 8 years (1996-2004), with the confirmed diagnosis of neuroblastoma or ganglioneuroblastoma were evaluated for full course of therapy and follow up.
Of the patient group, 60% were male and 40% female. The most frequent clinical stage was stage 3 (34.7%), followed with stage 4 (32.6%) and 2 (26%).
Less than 2% of patients presented with pure neurologic symptoms and these responded well to treatment. Relapse was seen more frequently in stage 4 patients and less in stage 4S. The OPEC protocol, started in 81% of patients, achieved a 54% response; on the other hand, in 15%, N6 was used, with the response rate of 40%. Patient data was analyzed and interpreted using SPSS software to reveal which clinical and biologic factors improve neuroblastoma outcome.
Staging and patients' age at the time of diagnosis are the most important clinical factors to predict outcome, while primary tumor site and some biologic findings such as urinary VMA and serum LDH levels have a less important value.