From Dog
Cerebral ganglioneuroblastoma in the cortex of an 8-month-old Golden Retriever[1]
A medulloblastoma in a 4-year-old Boxer[2]

Neuroblastoma are a neuroendocrine primitive neuroectodermal tumor arising from neuroepithelium of the nervous system in dogs.

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[3].

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[4].

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[5] 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[6]. 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[7]. While most cases are seen in young dogs, a cerebellar medulloblastoma with multiple differentiation was noted in a 4-yr-old Boxer.

Neuroblastomas may also arise in the cerebrum[1], spine, nasal cavity, thorax[8][9], skin, mandibulopharyngeal region[10], nasopharynx[11] and adrenals[12][13].

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[14].

Diagnosis is based on historical and clinical findings augmented with imaging, primarily MRI[15]. 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[16].

These tumors are immunohistochemically-positive for beta III tubulin, vimentin, S-100 protein, neurone-specific enolase and synaptophysin, suggesting single neuronal differentiation[17][18].

A differential diagnosis would include vestibular syndrome, meningioma, pheochromocytoma, glioblastoma, peripheral nerve sheath tumor, choroid plexus tumor and metastatic lymphoma[19].

Treatment usually requires surgical extirpation of the mass and radiation therapy, but recurrence is common[20].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kuwamura M et al (2004) Cerebral ganglioneuroblastoma in a golden retriever dog. Vet Pathol 41(3):282-284
  2. Mandrioli L et al (2011) Immunohistochemical profiling and telomerase activity of a canine medulloblastoma. Vet Pathol 48(4):814-816
  3. Schilling FH et al (2002) Neuroblastoma screening at one year of age. N Engl J Med 346:1047–1053
  4. Summers BA et al (1995) Tumors of the nervous system. In: Veterinary Neuropathology, ed. Summers BA, Cummings JF, and deLahunta A, pp:351–401. CV Mosby, St. Louis, MO
  5. Brosinski K et al (2012) Olfactory neuroblastoma in dogs and cats - a histological and immunohistochemical analysis. J Comp Pathol 146(2-3):152-159
  6. Kelly DF (1975) Neuroblastoma in the dog. J Pathol 116:209- 212
  7. Simon J & Albert LT (1960) Two cases of neuroblastomas in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 136:210-214
  8. Mattix ME et al (1994) Olfactory ganglioneuroblastoma in a dog, a light, ultrastructural, and immunohistochemical study. Vet Pathol 31:262–265
  9. Schulz KS et al (1994) Thoracic ganglioneuroblastoma in a dog. Vet Pathol 31:716–718
  10. Suzuki M et al (2003) Peripheral neuroblastoma in a young labrador retriever. J Vet Med Sci 65(2):271-274
  11. Nakamura K et al (2004) Canine ganglioneuroblastoma in the oral mucosa. J Comp Pathol 130(2-3):205-208
  12. Matsushima S et al (1998) Peripheral neuroblastoma in a young beagle dog. Toxicol Pathol 26:806–809
  13. Forrest LJ et al (1997) Peripheral neuroblastoma in a dog. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 38:457–460
  14. Ueno H et al (2007) Olfactory esthesioneuroblastoma treated with orthovoltage radiotherapy in a dog. Aust Vet J 85(7):271-275
  15. Kitagawa M et al (2006) Diagnosis of olfactory neuroblastoma in a dog by magnetic resonance imaging. Vet Rec 159(9):288-289
  16. Capucchio MT et al (2003) Histological and immunohistochemical study of a neuroblastoma in a dog. Clin Neuropathol 22(4):176-179
  17. Ide T et al (2011) Immunohistochemical characterization of canine neuroepithelial tumors. Vet Pathol 47(4):741-750
  18. Michishita M et al (2010) Primary neuroblastoma in the skin of an adult shih tzu dog. Vet Dermatol 21(4):408-411
  19. Schwartz M et al (2011) Canine intracranial neoplasia: clinical risk factors for development of epileptic seizures. J Small Anim Pract 52(12):632-627
  20. Marcotte L et al (2004) Malignant adrenal neuroblastoma in a young dog. Can Vet J 45(9):773-776