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New Non-Surgical Treatment For Pediatric Neuroblastoma

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 6:25am

(PRNewswire-USNewswire) A nationwide study led by Dr. Jed Nuchtern, chief of the division of pediatric surgery at Texas Children's Hospital and professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, found that the majority of infants with a particular form of neuroblastoma - a childhood tumor that often requires intensive chemotherapy and surgery - excel in their overall progress and survival when the tumor is monitored without surgical resection.

The results of the study were presented at the American Surgical Association's 132nd annual meeting in San Francisco last week. In this 10-year study, surgeons and oncologists who identified babies less than six months of age with a small tumor suggestive of neuroblastoma were given the option of immediate surgery or monitoring the baby carefully via ultrasound and urine tests. Overall, 87 babies who had tumors found either prenatally or before six months of age were entered into the study. Only four underwent surgery immediately - all of whom did well - while 83 were followed carefully for at least 15 months.

Of the group that was followed, 16 children had surgery due to changes on one of the screening studies with eight found to have stage one neuroblastoma and only two with higher stages. There were no tumors that required additional intensive chemotherapy. Most importantly, the three-year overall survival for the 83 babies who were followed by observation was 100 percent with median follow-up now of three years. Overall, 81 percent of these young babies on the observation arm were spared the need for surgery. The results of this study reveal that it is safe to carefully observe babies - specifically infants less than six months of age - who have a special, small isolated neuroblastoma tumor.

The investigators are now planning a study that will expand to include patients who are one years old at diagnosis and who have larger neuroblastoma tumors. The study was sponsored by the Children's Oncology Group and included participation by more than 100 physicians from more than 75 pediatric programs across the United States and Canada, including Texas Children's Cancer Center.

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