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Treatments for intermediate-risk neuroblastoma

The following are treatment options for intermediate-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 intermediate-risk neuroblastoma may include:

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


Chemotherapy is the main treatment for intermediate-risk neuroblastoma. It may be given after surgery to treat any tumour that was left behind. Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to shrink the tumour and make it easier to remove.

A combination of chemotherapy drugs is often given for 4–8 cycles (12–24 weeks). The most common drugs used are:

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


Surgery is often used to remove as much of the neuroblastoma as possible. It may be used before or after chemotherapy. If surgery is done before chemotherapy, a second-look surgery may be done again after chemotherapy to see if there is any cancer left and to remove it, if possible.

For infants who have no symptoms, surgery may be the only treatment used for intermediate-risk neuroblastoma. It is followed by watchful waiting, or observation.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is not commonly used to treat intermediate-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 intermediate-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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