Ganglioneuroblastoma is a tumor or abnormal tissue growth that is generated from nerve tissue.
The name of this disease gives clues to where it occurs and what it affects. Ganglia are masses of nerve cells, "neuro" means nerve, and the term "blastoma" means a cancer that affects immature or developing cells.
The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and all of the nerves that communicate with the rest of the body. The nervous system is used for thinking, feeling, moving, and other functions. Because this type of cancer forms on the clusters of nerve cells, it may be found in almost any part of the body.
Sometimes the tumor grows slowly, while other times, it grows and spreads quickly. It is classified as an intermediate tumor for this reason. It is more severe than a benign tumor, which is typically less likely to spread and is slow to grow, but less aggressive than a malignant tumor, which typically has rapid growth, is more likely to spread, and advances quickly. Therefore, a ganglioneuroblastoma can be localized or it may have metastasized (migrated from the area of origin to other parts of the brain or body).
The cells of a ganglioneuroblastoma have a dual feature. Some are immature and poorly differentiated, less distinct in form and function, and look dissimilar to the tissue from which they originated. Others are mature ganglion cells, specialized with distinct form and function, and look similar to the tissue from which they originated. Cell differentiation can indicate the likelihood of a tumor to remain localized or metastasize. Well-differentiated cells, those that look similar to the tissue from which they originated, are less likely to metastasize.
Some places where ganglioneuroblastomas may metastasize include bones, bone marrow, lymph nodes, the abdomen, the liver, the chest, and the serum (blood).
The cause of ganglioneuroblastomas is unknown, but age and genetics are thought to play a role.
Ganglioneuroblastoma is a rare tumor, with a majority of cases seen in young children up to four years of age. It has an incidence rate of less than five cases per 1,000,000 children. This incidence rate is highest during the first year of life, and it is not more prevalent in one race than another.

Related Terms

Benign tumor, biopsy, bone marrow, cancer, childhood cancer, childhood neoplasm, extracranial, ganglia, ganglion, ganglioneuroblastoma, ganglioneuroblastoma intermixed, ganglioneuroblastoma nodular, ganglioneuroma, intermediate tumor, malignant tumor, metastatic, needle aspiration, nerve tissue, nervous system, neuroblastoma, neuroblasts, pediatric cancer, solid tumor, tumor.

types of the disease

Intermixed ganglioneuroblastoma: This comprises well-defined neuroblastic cells (cell that will develop into neurons) that are at various stages of differentiation, distributed in the tumor at random.
Nodular ganglioneuroblastoma: This contains highly visible nodules that are usually hemorrhagic (bleeding) and are in the same space with ganglioneuroblastoma intermixed cells.