Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the nervous system and accounts for 15% of cancer related deaths
in children. With the advancement of treatment therapies, the long term survival rate has
progressed to approximately 50%. The therapy used for treatment, however, is very toxic and
associated with serious long-term side effects. Treatment for neuroblastoma typically
includes chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplantation, radiation therapy, and
immunotherapy. At the end of this treatment, children with neuroblastoma commonly take the
drug isotretinoin for 6 months. Isotretinoin maintains the response to previous treatments
and helps turn the remaining cancer cells into normal nerve cells.
Most patients often respond to this treatment at first but are at a high-risk for the cancer
coming back. The majority of the children who relapse after treatment or develop recurrent
disease do so in the first two years following the completion of therapy and there are no
current treatments to cure those who relapse. This study will explore whether or not
extending the therapy with isotretinoin from 6 months to 24 months will help prevent the
cancer from coming back without causing severe side effects.