Neuroblastoma, in many ways, is still a great mystery. That is why The Super Jake Foundation takes research grants so seriously. Found below are some facts about neuroblastoma along with articles about the advances in understanding what this form of cancer is and how doctors are working to make it a thing of the past.

  • There are approximately 12,500 children suffering from some form of pediatric cancer.
  • Neuroblastoma is an extremely rare childhood cancer, affecting 10 children in every million, usually before the age of 5.
  • In the U.S., approximately 650 new cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed each year.
  • Originating from neural crest cells called neuroblasts in the sympathetic nervous system where nervous system tissue is present, neuroblastoma is a solid tumor cancer most commonly found near the adrenal glands (located on top of the kidneys and in the chest).
  • The term neuro indicates “nerves,” while blastoma refers to a cancer that affects immature or developing cells.
  • The cause of neuroblastoma is unknown. Studies have shown that genetics and environmental factors are not involved.
  • 40 percent of neuroblastoma patients are younger than 1 year when diagnosed, 35 percent are aged 1-2 years, and 25 percent are older than 2 years when diagnosed.
  • In 70-80 percent of patients with neuroblastoma, the disease is not diagnosed until it has already metastasized (spread) to lymph nodes, liver, bone, bone marrow and/or skin. These cases are categorized as stage IV and have a less than 40 percent chance of surviving long-term, classified as more than three years. Less than half of these patients survived.
  • No drugs or treatments are available today designed to specifically treat neuroblastoma. Treatment often requires a combination of surgery, chemotherapy drugs designed for different types of adult cancers, bone marrow transplants and radiation therapy.
  • The five-year survival rate for high-risk cases of neuroblastoma is less than 40 percent.
  • There is a zero percent chance of survival for patients who relapse.
  • Males have a slightly higher incidence of neuroblastoma than females.
  • More than 40 percent of fully insured families with a child with neuroblastoma declare bankruptcy due to the high costs of treatment, often considered to be experimental.

(Source: American Cancer Society)

Other Sources:

“Neuroblastoma” Norman J. Lacayo, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Stanford University and Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital, February 10, 2005.

“Neuroblastoma” PDF put out by the American Cancer Society containing much of what is know about neuroblastoma.

“Recent Advances in Neuroblastoma” by John M. Morris, M.D., The New England Journal of Medicine.