Neuroblastomas are the most common extracranial solid childhood malignancies and the third commonest childhood tumors after leukemia and brain malignancies. The tumors typically occur in infants and very young children (mean age of presentation being ~22 months) with 95% of cases diagnosed before the age of 10 years.

Clinical presentation

Typically with pain or a palpable mass and abdominal distension, although numerous other presentations may be encountered due to local mass effect.


Neuroblastomas arise from the sympathetic nervous system:

Intra-abdominal disease (two-thirds of cases) is more prevalent than the intrathoracic disease. Specific sites include:

  • adrenal glands: most common site of origin, 35%
  • retroperitoneum: 30-35%
  • posterior mediastinum: 20%
  • neck: 1-5%
  • pelvis: 2-3%

See: Neuroblastoma article for more details.