Despite the use of aggressive chemotherapy, stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma still has very poor prognosis which is estimated at 25%. Metabolic radiotherapy with I131 MIBG appears a feasible option to enhance the effects of chemotherapy. Seventeen patients having MIBG-positive residual disease received 4.1-11.1 mCi/kg of I131 MIBG 7-10 days before initiating the high-dose chemotherapy cycle consisting of busulphan 16 mg/kg and melphalan 140 mg/m2 followed by PBSC infusion. We compared the toxicity in these patients to that seen in 15 control subjects with neuroblastoma who underwent a PBSC transplant without MIBG therapy. We observed greater toxic involvement of the gastrointestinal system in children treated with I131 MIBG: grade 2 or 3 mucositis developed in 13/17 patients treated with I131 MIBG and in 9/15 treated without it. Grade 1-2 gastrointestinal toxicity occurred in 12/17 children given MIBG and in 5/15 of the controls. One child receiving I131 MIBG developed transient interstitial pneumonia. Another child who also received I131 MIBG after PBSC rescue developed fatal pneumonia after the third course of metabolic radiotherapy. Our experience indicates that MIBG can be included in the high-dose chemotherapy regimens followed by PBSC rescue for children with residual neuroblastoma taking up MIBG. Attention should be paid to avoiding lung complications. Prospective studies are needed to demonstrate the real efficacy of this treatment.
- Peripheral blood stem cell transplantation
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