Classification of neuroblastomas include:
- Ganglioneuroma (benign)
- Neuroepithelioma (benign)
- Ganglioneuroblastoma (intermediate)
- Esthesioneuroblastoma (intermediate)
- Medulloblastoma (aggressive)
- Neuroblastoma (aggressive)
They are usually diagnosed in dogs under 3 years of age, have a high index of metastasis and may produce catecholamines.
Although ganglion cells are conventionally located outside the CNS, the term may be applied to some CNS tumors containing neoplastic cells with the phenotype of mature neurons.
Ganglioneuroblastoma, a variant of neuroblastoma which contain ganglions, are characterized by a combination of immature neuroblastic cells with variable numbers of neoplastic cells with advanced neuronal differentiation.
Olfactory neuroblastoma are the most common form of this type of neoplasm arising from the ethmoturbinates in caudal region of nasal cavity and may penetrate cribriform plate into the cerebral cortex.
Medulloblastomas are a rare brain tumour of dogs that are highly malignant and almost always develop in the cerebellum. The tumors tend to bulge into the fourth ventricle, often replacing part of the cerebellar vermis and compressing the midbrain rostrally and the brain stem ventrally. They may infiltrate the meninges, metastasize within the CSF pathways, and cause obstructive hydrocephalus. While most cases are seen in young dogs, a cerebellar medulloblastoma with multiple differentiation was noted in a 4-yr-old Boxer.
Clinically affected dogs present with anorexia, ataxia, circling, proprioceptive deficits and seizures.
Olfactory neuroblastomas ans esthesioneuroblastomas commonly present as nasal tumors with associated respiratory difficulty and stertor.
Diagnosis is based on historical and clinical findings augmented with imaging, primarily MRI. Histopathological analysis of biopsied material is usually required for a definitive diagnosis.
These tumors are characterized microscopically by small round undifferentiated cells arranged in sheets or nests and sometimes in pseudorosettes interrupted by hypocellular zones of fibrovascular stroma.
Treatment usually requires surgical extirpation of the mass and radiation therapy, but recurrence is common.
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