The outcome of solid tumors occuring in the neonatal period
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Sixty-six solid neoplasms occurring in neonates treated at the Red Cross Childrens Hospital over a 34-year period (1957-1991) were reviewed and recalled for long-term follow-up (mean 10.4 years). Associated congenital abnormalities were rare, but chromosomal abnormalities were detected in 3 patients, one of which was familial. Teratomatous germ-cell tumours predominated, followed by neuroblastomas and soft-tissue tumours; 23 had malignant morphologic appearances and 43 were morphologically non-malignant. Seventy-nine per cent presented within the 1st week of life, 41% of these within the first 24 h. Although most sacrococcygeal teratomatous germ-cell tumours were benign, malignancy was present in 2 patients (1 of these presented during the 1st week of life). A further 11 sacrococcygeal teratomas were found on light microscopy to include immature elements and had unpredictable clinical behaviour; 2 of these later metastasized despite adequate surgical clearance. All 4 patients with mesoblastic nephromas and 1 with a neonatal Wilm's tumour survived. In addition, 6 of the 10 patients with a neuroblastoma survived long-term. One of 3 patients with a rhabdomyosarcoma survived as well as 1 of 2 with a hepatoblastoma. Congenital fibrosarcomas, although morphologically aggressive, had an excellent outcome. Surgical excision was performed in all cases, and overall patient survival on long-term follow-up was 66% (44 patients). These survivors included 10 (41%) of those with malignant tumours and 24 (84%) with potentially malignant tumours. Metastatic spread or secondary tumours were shown to occur at variable stages, and early, frequent, and regular fellow-up is recommended. Complications of extensive surgery resulted in 3 temporary and 2 long-term problems. Other adverse effects of therapy were observed in survivors of chemo- or radiation therapy, where poor growth was noted in 9 (82%), behavioural disturbances in 3 (27%), and intellectual impairment in 4 (36%).
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