In a recent review of available literature on the subject of the impact of surgical resection on the outcome of patients with high risk NB, I came across this report by Englum et al in Pediatric Blood and Cancer.
The authors looked at the impact of gross total resection (GTR) vs less than gross total resection on overall survival in 87 patients operated on in 14 different institutions. Although no significant difference in OS (~50%) between the two groups could be found, the data did show a significant improvement in OS when more than 90% resection of the tumor was performed.
As with all retrospective studies, it is difficult to tease out potential confounding variables that determine outcome in these patients, especially with a condition as complex as neuroblastoma. This study does, however, add some more information that can help us when deciding how hard to continue to push when that last bit of tumor just will not come off that IVC safely!