If neuroblastoma spreads

Last medical review:

Cancer cells can spread from immature nerve cells (called neuroblasts) to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your child’s healthcare team plan treatment and future care. If neuroblastoma spreads, it can spread to the following:

  • lymph nodes
  • bone, including bones of the eye socket (called the periorbital bones)
  • bone marrow
  • liver
  • skin
  • lung
  • brain and spinal cord (called the central nervous system, or CNS)

Expert review and references

  • Meredith Irwin, MD
  • Daniel Morgenstern, MD
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Neuroblastoma. 2018: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/neuroblastoma-childhood/view-all.
  • Lacayo NJ. Pediatric Neuroblastoma. eMedicine/Medscape; 2017: https://emedicine.medscape.com/.
  • American Cancer Society. Neuroblastoma Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging. 2018: https://www.cancer.org/.
  • Bartholomew, J . Neuroblastoma. Baggott C, Fochtman D, Foley GV & Patterson Kelly, K (eds.). Nursing Care of Children and Adolescents with Cancer and Blood Disorders. 4th ed. APHON; 2011: 30: pp. 1038-1053.
  • Brodeur GM, Hogarty MD, Bagatell R, Mosse YP, Maris JM. Neuroblastoma. Pizzo PA, Poplack DG, eds.. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology . 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2016: 30:772–797.
  • PDQ® Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board. Neuroblastoma Treatment (PDQ®)–Health ProfessionalVersion. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute ; 2020: https://www.cancer.gov/.
  • PDQ® Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board. Neuroblastoma Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2021: https://www.cancer.gov/types/neuroblastoma/patient/neuroblastoma-treatment-pdq.
  • Cancerbackup. Cancerbackup: Neuroblastoma In Children. United Kingdom: Cancerbackup; 2007.
  • Neuroblastoma. Janes-Hodder, H. & Keene, N. Childhood Cancer - A Parent's Guide to Solid Tumor Cancers. 2nd ed. O'Reilly; 2002: pp. 124-136.
  • Joyner BD. Medscape: Neuroblastoma Workup. WebMD LLC; 2012.
  • Lacayo NJ. Medscape: Pediatric Neuroblastoma Workup. WebMD LLC; 2012.
  • Duffey-Lind, E . Neuroblastoma. Kline, N. E. (Ed.). Essentials of Pediatric Oncology Nursing: A Core Curriculum. 2nd ed. Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses; 2004: 2:6: pp. 35-30.
  • Hendershot, C . Neuroblastoma. Tomlinson, D. & Kline, N. E. Pediatric Oncology Nursing: Advanced Clinical Handbook. Germany: Springer; 2005: 2.6: pp. 50-57.