Relapsed or Refractory Neuroblastoma | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is relapsed neuroblastoma diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis of relapsed neuroblastoma, your doctor may order a variety of tests, including:

In some cases, your doctor may also order a tumor biopsy, in which surgeons or interventional radiologists remove either a piece of the tumor or the whole tumor, depending on tumor location and size. Pediatric pathologists will analyze the tumor, and other important tests will be done to determine the tumor biology, such as genetic studies to look for genes that may be targeted using new drugs.

After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.

What are the treatment options for relapsed and refractory neuroblastoma?

There is no standard treatment for relapsed neuroblastoma. Rather, our treatment approach is personalized for each patient depending on several factors, including:

  • extent of relapse
  • length of time from prior treatment
  • type of prior treatment

Treatment options for relapsed neuroblastoma include MIBG therapy, which uses a radioactive isotope that is readily absorbed by most neuroblastomas and can be used to detect neuroblastoma in the body or to deliver radiation in order to kill the neuroblastoma cells. It may also include chemotherapy using combinations of chemotherapy agents not used to treat newly diagnosed neuroblastoma, or immunotherapy generally given in combination with chemotherapy.

We also offer innovative clinical trials of experimental agents (Phase 1 or 2) for children with relapsed or recurrent neuroblastoma.