How is neuroblastoma treated?
Our team will work with you to create a treatment plan, based on the stage of the tumor, your child’s overall health, your preferences and other factors. Treatment may include:
- Surgery to remove the tumor. Our surgeons are leaders in procedures completely remove tumors while preserving healthy tissue, which is critical in treating neuroblastoma. Lymph nodes may be removed to determine whether the tumor has spread.
- Chemotherapy using medicine that goes through the body to kill cancer cells wherever they are. For neuroblastoma, it is usually used either before or after surgery. Children who undergo chemotherapy at Miami Cancer Institute can choose from a variety of interactive experiences in our child-friendly Infusionarium.
- Radiation therapy: Most children with neuroblastoma do not need radiation therapy. In children with high-risk neuroblastoma, radiation is often used after stem cell transplant. Infrequently, total body irradiation (TBI) is used before a stem cell transplant in some children with high-risk neuroblastoma. For children with low or intermediate risk neuroblastoma, radiation therapy may be used to shrink a tumor that is causing severe or life-threatening symptoms, or severe pain. At other times, radiotherapy is used before surgery to shrink tumors and make their removal easier. If radiation therapy is needed, the options may include proton therapy, an advanced form of radiation treatment that spares healthy tissue and releases most of its energy inside a tumor. Proton therapy is much safer for children than conventional radiation therapy and can reduce the risk of bone or soft tissue damage, side effects and the risk of other tumors later in life. Another possible option is therapy using MIGB (metaiodobenzylguanidine), a chemical similar to that made by the cells that make up neuroblastoma. A radioisotope can be attached to MIBG, and in some children, this form of radiotherapy is used to treat neuroblastoma.
- Stem cell transplantation to destroy cancer cells in the bone marrow, blood and other parts of the body and to create healthy bone marrow after chemotherapy. For neuroblastoma, autologous transplant (using the child’s own stem cells) is most common. If needed, we work with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to ensure your child has access to all needed services.
Because treatment can be confusing and stressful for children, our child life specialists are on hand to answer questions and help ease anxiety.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care. Stem cell transplantation experts and hematologic oncology experts are also available to discuss complex cases.
Pediatric Support Services
Our Pediatric Support Center team addresses the social and emotional needs of your child and provides support to the whole family, including siblings. We provide a compassionate environment, engaging activities and a range of complementary therapies to make sure your child remains psychologically healthy during the treatment process and beyond.
Miami Cancer Institute designed a space where kids can receive the necessary treatments while being immersed in a technological experience that positively affects their outcomes. The Infusionarium uses virtual reality and live feeds to connect patients to an experience that can help ease the effects of chemotherapy.