Andras G. Lacko*
Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common cancer diagnosed in infants and the most common extra-cranial solid tumor in children. The clinical course of the disease is highly variable with frequent spontaneous regressions observed in patients less than 1 year of age, while it presents with a much higher risk of a poor prognosis in older pediatric patients. Due to the heterogeneous presentation of NB, stratification of patients via numerous diagnostic procedures, and subsequent appropriate treatment strategies conforming to the varying stages of aggressiveness of the disease have been developed.
Design and execution and evaluation of the findings of clinical studies involving NB patients have been performed largely by a select groups of experts leading to substantially deeper knowledge of the pathophysiological mechanism(s) and the diagnosis of NB while still leaving a lot more effort to be expanded for substantially improving the prognoses for patients, especially those with medium and high risk disease.
Several exhaustive reviews are currently available on NB therapeutics including accounts of clinical trials. This brief overview intends to examine only some of the currently available treatment strategies, regarding their respective therapeutic efficacies, including a focus on long and short term toxic off target effects. A brief assessment of potential opportunities, with a special emphasis on nanotherapeutics, for achieving improved outcomes for NB patients is also included.