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High-dose chemo for neuroblastoma

Wednesday July 11th, 2018

A new study has looked at long-term outcomes for children with high-risk neuroblastoma treated with high-dose chemotherapy plus autologous stem cell transplantation.

Professor Frank Berthold of University Hospital Cologne, Germany, and colleagues analysed the outcomes of patients in the NB97 trial after over 13 years of follow-up.

Results showed that this approach was more effective than maintenance chemotherapy in terms of cancer recurrence for all patient subgroups. Long-term overall survival was also better in the high-dose chemotherapy group.

Long-term chemotherapy side-effects included auditory impairment, thyroid dysfunction, and renal function impairment. But the researchers believe these were mainly due to the initial chemotherapy given at first diagnosis.

Their findings are published today (11 July) in The British Journal of Cancer.

The experts write: "High-risk neuroblastoma represents still one of the leading causes for death from childhood cancer. Even after good initial responses to chemotherapy, many tumour recurrences are observed suggesting the need for an effective consolidation therapy."

In a separate recent study, Professor Berthold and colleagues report that the ten-year overall survival for neuroblastoma patients, between 1979 and 2015, increased for stage 1-3 neuroblastoma from 83% to 91%, for stage 4S from 80% to 85%, and for stage 4 from 2% to 38%.

They state that 97% of known neuroblastoma patients in Germany took part in a clinical trial, and add that the neuroblastoma rate has increased slightly, while the median age at diagnosis has fallen.

The rate of patients in stages 1-3 who are not given chemotherapy increased during this time from 35% to 60%.

Berthold, F. et al. The British Journal of Cancer 11 July 2018; doi: s41416-018-0169-8

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Cancer | Child Health | Europe | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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