NEUROBLASTOMA is among the most frequent cancers of childhood; yet in contrast to leukemia, very little effort has been made to seek clues to its origins through epidemiologic research. The failure to assign neuroblastoma a single exclusive code number in the Manual of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death,1 has been a great handicap in studying its distribution nationally. By handsorting all death certificates for US children dying of cancer, 1960 to 1964, we have been able recently to separate deaths attributed to neuroblastoma and, in conjunction with information from 504 hospital charts of children with this neoplasm, to examine its patterns of occurrence for etiologic implications.
The mortality study was based on about 22,000 copies of childhood cancer death certificates provided by the National Vital Statistics Division, US Public Health Service. The certificates concerned all deaths from malignant neoplasms in children under 15