To identify factors determining the surgical outcome of primary cervical and thoracic neuroblastoma.METHODS
Twenty-six children with primary thoracic neuroblastoma presented over the last 14 years were analysed for age, mode of presentation, tumour histopathology, biology and outcome.RESULTS
Primary thoracic neuroblastoma was presented in 16 boys and 10 girls at a median age of 2 years (range 6 weeks-15 years). The International Neuroblastoma Staging System (INSS) classified these as Stage 1 (8), Stage 2 (5), Stage 3 (6) and Stage 4 (7). Computed tomography defined the tumour location at the thoracic inlet (11), cervical (2), cervico-thoracic (3), mid-thorax (9) and thoraco-abdominal (1). Twenty-two children underwent surgery that allowed an adequate exposure and resection. Surgical resection was achieved after initial biopsy and preoperative chemotherapy in 15 children, whereas primary resection was performed in 7 children. Four patients with Stage 4 disease underwent chemotherapy alone after initial biopsy; of which, two died despite chemotherapy. Favourable outcome after surgical resection and long-term survival was seen in 19 (86.4%) of the 22 children. Three had local recurrence (14 to 21 months postoperatively), all with unfavourable histology on initial biopsy. The prognostic factors that determined the outcome were age and INSS stage at presentation. In this series, all patients under 2 years of age are still alive, while mortality was seen in five older children.CONCLUSION
Thoracic neuroblastoma in children under 2 years of age irrespective of stage and histology of the tumour results in long-term survival.