To study the distribution of presenting features and their prognostic significance in neuroblastoma treated in a single institution in Malaysia. A retrospective study was made of 78 neuroblastoma cases diagnosed and treated in the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between June 1982 and February 1997. Diagnosis was established by standard histological criteria. The presenting features were evaluated for their distribution and prognostic influence. Disease-free survival from diagnosis was the outcome variable of interest. The ages ranged from 0.1 to 11 years old (median: 3 years old). The tumor originated from the adrenal glands in 83% and the majority of cases presented in advanced stage (stage III 22%, stage IV 66%). Bone marrow was the commonest site of distant metastasis occurring in 45% of patients. The main presenting signs and symptoms in decreasing order were pallor, fever, abdominal mass, weight loss, and bone/joint pain. Univariate analysis conferred age, initial stage and Hb level as significant prognostic factors. No influence in disease-free survival was found for sex, race, primary site, urinary vanillylmandelic acid level, white cell count and platelet count. Overall 2-year disease-free survival was achieved in 27 (39%) patients. Four patients underwent bone marrow transplant, three of whom achieved 2-year disease-free survival. The results suggest that age, initial stage and hemoglobin level are significant prognostic factors based on univariate analysis. In addition, more Malaysian children presented with adrenal primary site and advanced disease compared to previous reported studies.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.