Management of neuroblastoma in limited-resource settings

Van Heerden, Jaques ; Kruger, Mariana (2020)

CITATION: Van Heerden, J. & Kruger, M. 2020. Management of neuroblastoma in limited-resource settings. World Journal of Clinical Oncology, 11(8):629-643, doi:10.5306/wjco.v11.i8.0000.

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BACKGROUND: Neuroblastoma (NB) is a heterogeneous disease with variable outcomes among countries. Little is known about NB in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). AIM: The aim of this review was to evaluate regional management protocols and challenges in treating NB in paediatric oncology units in LMICs compared to high-income countries (HICs). METHODS: PubMed, Global Health, Embase, SciELO, African Index Medicus and Google Scholar were searched for publications with keywords pertaining to NB, LMICs and outcomes. Only English language manuscripts and abstracts were included. A descriptive review was done, and tables illustrating the findings were constructed. RESULTS: Limited information beyond single-institution experiences regarding NB outcomes in LMICs was available. The disease characteristics varied among countries for the following variables: sex, age at presentation, MYCN amplification, stage and outcome. LMICs were found to be burdened with a higher percentage of stage 4 and high-risk NB compared to HICs. Implementation of evidence-based treatment protocols was still a barrier to care. Many socioeconomic variables also influenced the diagnosis, management and follow-up of patients with NB. CONCLUSION Patients presented at a later age with more advanced disease in LMICs. Management was limited by the lack of resources and genetic studies for improved NB classification. Further research is needed to develop modified diagnostic and treatment protocols for LMICs in the face of limited resources.

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