Features and outcome of neuroblastoma detected before birth

Claudio Granata, Anna Maria Fagnani, Claudio Gambini, Camillo Boglino, Serenella Bagnulo, Giovanni Cecchetto, Silvana Federici, Alessandro Inserra, Alberto Michelazzi, Giovanna Riccipetitoni, Antonino Rizzo, Paolo Tamaro, Vincenzo Jasonni, Bruno De Bernardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Purpose: The growing use of routine ultrasonography during pregnancy is leading to an increasing number of prenatally diagnosed neuroblastomas. Optimal strategy has not yet been defined for these patients, because knowledge on this particular neuroblastoma (NB) population is still limited. However, definite guidelines are needed to avoid inadequate treatment. The authors analyzed the cases of antenatally detected NB (ADNB) reported in the Italian Neuroblastoma Registry during the past 6 years to elucidate the features of this subset of NB. Methods: The Italian Neuroblastoma Registry was reviewed for the period January 1993 to December 1998 to collect clinical, radiographic, surgical, and histopathological data on ADNB cases. NB stage was evaluated according to INSS criteria. All patients had undergone imaging (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging) of the primary tumor and bone marrow biopsy before surgical resection. Results: Seventeen patients were identified. Primary tumour site was adrenal glands in 16 cases and retroperitoneal ganglia in 1. Stage distribution was stage I, 13 cases; stage II-A, 1 case; stage II-B, 1 case; stage IV-S, 2 cases. All cases underwent primary tumour resection. Mean age at surgery was 4 weeks. Resection of primary tumor was radical in 16 cases, partial in 1. All tumors were characterised by favourable histology according to Shimada classification. N-myc gene amplification was studied in 14 patients. N-myc amplification was detected only in a newborn with stage II-A NB, who died of massive bleeding 2 days after tumor resection. DNA index and 1p deletion were studied in 11 and 8 patients, respectively. Both diploidy and deletion of 1p were observed in a newborn who subsequently died of disease progression despite surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Fourteen of 17 patients currently are alive and free of disease, and one with IV-S NB and short follow-up is alive with disease. Conclusions: Our data give evidence that in most cases infants with ADNB represent a subset of patients with excellent outcome. Aggressive treatment may not always be necessary. Infants with ADNB with unfavorable features should undergo early surgical excision, whereas patients with favourable features could be observed awaiting spontaneous regression of the mass, reserving delayed surgery for tumors that increase in size or do not regress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-91
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Neuroblastoma
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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