Neuroblastoma

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Treatments for low-risk neuroblastoma

The following are treatment options for low-risk neuroblastoma. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your child’s needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Treatments for low-risk neuroblastoma may include:

  • surgery alone
  • surgery followed by chemotherapy
  • chemotherapy followed by surgery
  • radiation therapy (to relieve serious symptoms, if other treatments don’t work)

Surgery

Surgery is the main treatment for low-risk neuroblastoma. The type of surgery done will depend on where the tumour started, its size, how close it is to vital organs, major blood vessels and nerves and if it can be removed with surgery (if it is resectable).

If the surgeon couldn’t remove all of the tumour or if there are some unfavourable prognostic factors, chemotherapy may be given after surgery.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat low-risk neuroblastoma.

Chemotherapy may be given before surgery. It is used to shrink the tumour to control serious symptoms such as spinal cord compression (if the tumour is pressing on the spine) or difficulty breathing (if the liver is enlarged and crowding the lungs). This is done when the tumour can’t be safely removed with surgery right away.

Chemotherapy may be given after surgery if the surgeon couldn’t remove all of the tumour or if the child has serious symptoms that are not relieved with surgery.

Combination chemotherapy is often given for 2 to 4 cycles. The most common drugs used are:

  • carboplatin (Paraplatin, Paraplatin AQ) or cisplatin (Platinol AQ)
  • cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Procytox)
  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • etoposide (Vepesid, VP-16)

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is not commonly used to treat low-risk neuroblastoma. It may be used to treat a tumour that is causing serious symptoms if they are not relieved with other therapies. These symptoms include spinal cord compression (if the tumour is pressing on the spine) or difficulty breathing (if the liver is enlarged and crowding the lungs).

Clinical trials

Many children with low-risk neuroblastoma are treated in a clinical trial. Clinical trials look at new and better ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

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