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Fifty-one children, aged from 15 months to 13 years 5 months with metastatic neuroblastoma presenting sequentially at the participating institutions received four 3 to 4 weekly courses of high dose multiagent chemotherapy. High dose cisplatin (200 mg m-2) combined with etoposide (500 mg m-2), HIPE, was alternated with ifosfamide (9 g m-2), vincristine (1.5 mg m-2), and adriamycin (60 mg m-1), IVAd. Disease status was re-evaluated 3 to 4 weeks after the fourth course and the response classified according to the International Neuroblastoma Response Criteria (INRC). The overall response rate in evaluable patients was 55% and response rates by site were: bone marrow 67% (complete response 47%); bone scan 68%; primary tumour 61%, and urinary catecholamine metabolites (VMA/HVA) 95%. Serial 51Cr EDTA renal clearance studies showed a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decline in 40% of patients but in only seven cases to below 50% of the pretreatment value. There was no instance of renal failure during induction, though two patients developed severe renal failure following 'megatherapy' given to consolidate remission. Serial audiometry showed a significant decline in hearing at frequencies above 2,000 Hz in 37% of children but at or below 2,000 Hz in only 17%. Neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were severe and intravenous antibiotics were required after 30% of courses. Each of two treatment-related deaths occurred during pancytopenia following courses of IVAd. Complete, or greater than 90%, removal of primary site tumour was possible in 70% of cases following this induction regimen and 75% of patients proceeded to elective megatherapy within a median time of 24 weeks after diagnosis. This short intensive induction programme is highly effective at achieving cytoreduction, enabling early surgery and early megatherapy procedures. It is, however, too early to draw firm conclusions about the impact of this approach to treatment on the cure rate.

Original publication




Journal article


British journal of cancer

Publication Date





319 - 323


Paediatric Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton, Surrey, U.K.


Humans, Neuroblastoma, Cisplatin, Ifosfamide, Vincristine, Doxorubicin, Etoposide, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Child, Preschool, Infant, Female, Male