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Definition Return to top
Ganglioneuroblastoma is an intermediate tumor arising from nerve tissue. An intermediate tumor is one that is between benign (slow-growing and unlikely to spread) and malignant (fast-growing, aggressive, and likely to spread).
Causes Return to top
This rare tumor has a yearly occurrence of less than 5 per 1,000,000 children.
Tumors of the nervous system vary in their degree of differentiation. The degree of differentiation determines how the tumors appear under the microscope and whether or not they are likely to spread.
Benign tumors are less likely to spread. Malignant tumors are aggressive, grow quickly, and often spread. A ganglioneuroma is a benign tumor, while a neuroblastoma (occurring in children more than a year old) is generally malignant.
A ganglioneuroblastoma may be localized to one area or it may be widespread, but it is usually less aggressive than a neuroblastoma. The cause is unknown.
Symptoms Return to top
Most commonly, a mass can be felt in the abdomen, but this condition may also occur in other parts of the body.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Treatment Return to top
Because these tumors are rare, they should be treated in a specialized center by experts who have experience with them.
Depending on the specific nature of the tumor, treatment can consist of surgery, and possibly chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Support Groups Return to top
The stress of illness can often be helped by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems. See cancer - support group.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The prognosis depends on the extent of the tumor and whether or not some areas of the tumor contain the more aggressive cells of a neuroblastoma.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you feel a mass or growth on your child's body. Make sure children receive routine examinations as part of their well child care.
References Return to top
Kim S, Chung DH. Pediatric solid malignancies: neuroblastoma and Wilms' tumor. Surg Clin North Am. 2006;86(2):469-487.
Park JR, Eggert A, Caron H. Neuroblastoma: biology, prognosis, and treatment. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2008;55(1):97-120.Update Date: 6/10/2008 Updated by: James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.