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    Ganglioneuroblastoma

    Ganglioneuroblastoma is an intermediate tumor that grows 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

    This rare tumor occurs in less than 5 out of every 1,000,000 children each year.

    Tumors of the nervous system have different degrees of differentiation. The degree of differentiationis based on how the tumor cellslook under the microscope. It can predict 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 ganglioneuromais a benign tumor. Aneuroblastoma (occurring in children over1 year old) isusually malignant.

    A ganglioneuroblastoma may be only in one area or it may be widespread, but it is usually less aggressive than a neuroblastoma. The cause is unknown.

    Symptoms

    Most commonly, alump can be felt in the abdomen. However, this condition may also occur in other parts of the body.

    Exams and Tests

    • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
    • Bone scan
    • CT scan or MRI scan of the affected area
    • MIBG scan
    • Special blood and urine tests
    • Surgical biopsy to confirm diagnosis

    Treatment

    Because these tumors are rare, they should be treated in a specialized center by experts who have experience with them.

    Depending on the type oftumor, treatment can involve surgery, and possibly chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

    Support Groups

    You can often help the stress of illness by joining asupport groupwhere members share common experiences and problems. See: Cancer - support group

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Theoutlook depends on how far the tumor has spread,and whether some areas of the tumor containmore aggressive cancer cells.

    Possible Complications

    • Complications of surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy
    • Spreadof the tumor into surrounding areas 

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you feel alump or growth on your child's body. Make sure children receive routine examinations as part of their well-child care.

    References

    Sovak MA, Aisner SC, Aisner J. Tumors of the pleura and mediastinum. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKenna WG, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 77.

    Zage PE, Ater JL. Neuroblastoma. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 492.

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          Review Date: 2/7/2012

          Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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