Impact of intensified therapy on clinical outcome in infants and children with neuroblastoma: The St Jude Children's Research Hospital experience, 1962 to 1988

L. C. Bowman, M. L. Hancock, V. M. Santana, F. A. Hayes, L. Kun, D. M. Parham, W. L. Furman, B. N. Rao, A. A. Green, W. M. Crist

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66 Scopus citations


To gauge the impact of intensified therapy on the survival of infants (younger than 1 year, n = 129) and children (≥ 1 year of age, n = 275) with neuroblastoma, we analyzed the results of eight successive clinical trials comparing various combinations of antineoplastic drugs, surgery, and radiotherapy. Changes in treatment did not affect the survival of children with involved noncontiguous lymph nodes or distant metastatic disease until the combination of cisplatin and teniposide (CDDP/VM26) was added to a basic regimen of cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin (CTX/DOX). The resulting 4-year survival was 28% ± 5% (SE) compared with 7% ± 2% for previous treatments (P < .001 by the log-rank test). The 4-year survival of infants with metastatic disease was improved by administering CTX/DOX to all patients, reserving CDDP/VM26 for those whose disease was resistant to the former combination: 82% ± 6% versus 45% ± 8% in earlier studies; P < .001. In the subset of infants whose tumors had disseminated to bone or bone marrow at diagnosis, this therapeutic approach increased the probability of long-term survival from 48% ± 10% to 85% ± 9% (P = .01). The small group of children over 1 year of age with localized unresectable tumors also fared significantly better with the switch to CTX/DOX chemotherapy (4-year survival, 93% ± 7% v 42% ± 13%; P = .02). Multivariate analysis indicated that young age, limited-disease stage, nonadrenal primary site, and intensified treatment were independent predictors of a more favorable outcome. We conclude that substantial advances in the treatment of neuroblastoma have occurred over the past 25 years at this institution. The current overall 4-year survival probability of 57% ± 4% compares favorably with estimates for most other common solid tumors of childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1608
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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