What is neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma most commonly occurs in babies and young children. It can develop anywhere in the sympathetic nervous system, but it starts most often in the abdomen in the adrenal gland that lies just above the kidney. It can also start near the spinal cord in the neck, chest or pelvis.
Changes to neuroblasts can also cause non-cancerous (benign) conditions such as ganglioneuroma.
In rare cases, changes to neuroblasts can lead to ganglioneuroblastoma. This is a rare tumour that is somewhere between non-cancerous and cancerous.
Some neuroblastomas, particularly in babies, can slowly disappear on their own without treatment (called spontaneous regression), or can mature into a benign form such as ganglioneuroma.
Meredith Irwin, MD
Daniel Morgenstern, MD
American Society of Clinical Oncology. Neuroblastoma. 2018: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/neuroblastoma-childhood/view-all.
American Cancer Society. What is Neuroblastoma. 2018: https://www.cancer.org/.
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.
Martini FH, Timmons MJ, Tallitsch RB. Human Anatomy. 7th ed. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings; 2012.