Neuroblastoma between 1990 and 2014 in the Netherlands: Increased incidence and improved survival of high-risk neuroblastoma

M L Tas, A M J Reedijk, H E Karim-Kos, L C M Kremer, C P van de Ven, M P Dierselhuis, N K A van Eijkelenburg, M van Grotel, K C J M Kraal, A M L Peek, J W W Coebergh, G O R Janssens, B de Keizer, R R de Krijger, R Pieters, G A M Tytgat, M M van Noesel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Long-term trends in neuroblastoma incidence and survival in unscreened populations are unknown. We explored trends in incidence, stage at diagnosis, treatment and survival of neuroblastoma in the Netherlands from 1990 to 2014.

METHODS: The Netherlands Cancer Registry provided data on all patients aged <18 years diagnosed with a neuroblastoma. Trends in incidence and stage were evaluated by calculating the average annual percentage change (AAPC). Univariate and multivariable survival analyses were performed for stage 4 disease to test whether changes in treatment are associated with survival.

RESULTS: Of the 593 newly diagnosed neuroblastoma cases, 45% was <18 months of age at diagnosis and 52% had stage 4 disease. The age-standardized incidence rate for stage 4 disease increased at all ages from 3.2 to 5.3 per million children per year (AAPC + 2.9%, p < .01). This increase was solely for patients ≥18 months old (3.0-5.4; AAPC +3.3%, p = .01). Five-year OS of all patients increased from 44 ± 5% to 61 ± 4% from 1990 to 2014 (p < .01) and from 19 ± 6% to 44 ± 6% (p < .01) for patients with stage 4 disease. Multivariable analysis revealed that high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell rescue and anti-GD2-based immunotherapy were associated with this survival increase (HR 0.46, p < .01 and HR 0.37, p < .01, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Incidence of stage 4 neuroblastoma increased exclusively in patients aged ≥18 months since 1990, whereas the incidence of other stages remained stable. The 5-year OS of stage 4 patients improved, mostly due to the introduction of high-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell rescue and immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-55
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Neuroblastoma/epidemiology
  • Registries
  • Survival Analysis


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