Facts about Neuroblastoma
There are approximately 12,500 children suffering from some form of pediatric cancer.
Neuroblastoma is an extremely rare childhood cancer, affecting 10 children in every million, usually
before the age of 5.
In the U.S., approximately 650 new cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed each year.
Originating from neural crest cells called neuroblasts in the sympathetic nervous system where nervous
system tissue is present, neuroblastoma is a solid tumor cancer most commonly found near the adrenal
glands (located on top of the kidneys and in the chest).
The term neuro indicates "nerves," while blastoma refers to a cancer that affects immature or
The cause of neuroblastoma is unknown. Studies have shown that genetics and environmental factors
are not involved.
40 percent of neuroblastoma patients are younger than 1 year when diagnosed, 35 percent are aged 1-2
years, and 25 percent are older than 2 years when diagnosed.
In 70-80 percent of patients with neuroblastoma, the disease is not diagnosed until it has already
metastasized (spread) to lymph nodes, liver, bone, bone marrow and/or skin. These cases are
categorized as stage IV and have a less than 40 percent chance of surviving long-term, classified as
more than three years. Less than half of these patients survive. i
No drugs or treatments are available today designed to specifically treat neuroblastoma.
Treatment often requires a combination of surgery, chemotherapy drugs designed for different types of
adult cancers, bone marrow transplants and radiation therapy.
The five-year survival rate for high-risk cases of neuroblastoma is less than 40 percent. ii
There is a zero percent chance of survival for patients who relapse.
Males have a slightly higher incidence of neuroblastoma than females. More than 40 percent of fully
insured families with a child with neuroblastoma declare bankruptcy due to the high costs of treatment,
often considered to be experimental.