Neuroblastoma With Intraspinal Extension: Health Problems in Long-Term Survivors

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To evaluate the prevalence of health problems in 5-year survivors treated for neuroblastoma (NBL) with intraspinal extension.

Patients and Methods:

Retrospective, single center cohort study (using data from Childhood Cancer Registry and medical records) of patients treated for NBL with intraspinal extension (between 1980 and 2007) who survived ≥ 5 years after diagnosis. Health problems were graded according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAEv.3.0).


All eligible patients (n = 19) were included (n = 7 no neurological symptoms at diagnosis), median age at diagnosis was 1.2 years (0.6–10.8 years), and median follow-up time was 15.6 years (6.3–29.5 years). Ninety-five percent of survivors had ≥1 health problem and 48% of survivors had ≥4 health problem with a mean of 3.8 per survivor. Fifty-three percent of survivors had at least one severe (grade 3) or life-threatening/disabling (grade 4) health problem. The three most prevalent health problems were kyphosis and/or scoliosis (68% of patients), motor neuropathy (32% of patients), and sensory neuropathy (26% of patients). Of the 13 patients who underwent a laminectomy, 54% (seven of 13) developed a grade 3 and 23% (three of 13) developed a grade 4 health problem. Among six patients, without laminectomy, 17% developed (one of six) a grade 3 and in 17% developed (one of six) a grade 4 health problem.


Ninety-five percent of 5-year survivors treated for a childhood intraspinal NBL have health problems. The high prevalence of grade 3 and 4 health problems (especially in the laminectomy group) emphasizes the importance of specialized long-term multidisciplinary follow-up and identifies optimal treatment with limited morbidity and maximal efficacy.

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