Between 1979 and 2005, ten-year overall survival with neuroblastoma improved from 34.9% to 65%. The results of this study, conducted in Italy, were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Neuroblastoma is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the nerve tissues of the adrenal gland, neck, chest, or spinal cord. Although neuroblastoma is rare (it affects roughly 650 children and adolescents in the United States each year), it is the most common malignancy diagnosed in infants.

To explore time trends in neuroblastoma survival, researchers in Italy conducted a study among 2,216 children (0-14 years of age) who were diagnosed with neuroblastoma between 1979 and 2005.

  • During the period of the study, the proportion of patients with Stage I disease increased from 5.8% to 23.2%.
  • Ten-year overall survival improved from 34.9% to 65%.
  • By 20 years after diagnosis, 7.1% of patients had developed a second cancer. This risk is more than eight times higher than the cancer risk in the general population. The most common second cancer was thyroid cancer.

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The results of this study suggest that survival with neuroblastoma has improved over time. Children who have been diagnosed with neuroblastoma do, however, have a higher risk of a subsequent cancer diagnosis than the general population.

Reference: Haupt R, Garaventa A, Gambini C et al. Improved survival of children with neuroblastoma between 1979 and 2005: a report of the Italian Neuroblastoma Registry. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2010;28:2331-2338.