From advanced-stage neuroblastoma to remission: the case of Szymuś
The patient, who is Polish, travelled to Barcelona to be treated for an advanced-stage neuroblastoma with a difficult-to-operate tumour
Szymuś arrived at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital from Poland when he was 2 years old. He was a normal, healthy child, full of energy, who was growing and developing just like all his friends. The neuroblastoma was not detected until it was in the advanced stage. Szymuś's parents noticed changes in their son's eyes: his pupils were large and his sight was impaired.
The tests showed that the child had a tumour in his head, and he underwent surgery in his home country to remove part of it. Unfortunately, the child lost his sight after the surgery. It was the tumour biopsy that showed that the lesion was a metastasis and that the boy had a neuroblastoma. He also had a large tumour in his abdomen which had metastasised to the bone marrow, bones and lymph nodes. The team of physicians proposed a treatment plan, but the boy was very weak, the tumour did not respond satisfactorily to the drugs and his condition worsened. At this point, the family started to seek alternative treatments abroad.
After the relevant consultations and a review of the medical documentation by the Oncology Unit, the patient travelled to the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital, one of the foremost international centres specialising in the treatment of neuroblastoma.
After the initial visit with Dr Jaume Mora, the family was surprised because the physician allowed the boy to stay with his parents and his brother, sleep together and stay at home. In view of the child's weak condition, they were given some guidelines and drugs to help him to recover a little before beginning treatment. In this case, the approach was complex, since the child's tumour was located in a part of the abdomen that was difficult to operate. The team of surgeons, led by Dr Lucas Krauel, conducted a 3D simulation of the child's lesion in order to thoroughly prepare the surgery. The operation lasted 7 hours and virtually the entire tumour was removed.
To increase the child's possibilities of recovering, he was offered compassionate-use immunotherapy, more specifically five cycles of naxitamab. The family gave its approval for the treatment, since both they and Szymuś are determined to persevere until the child is cured and can enjoy his childhood properly.
Szymuś is particularly happy at not having to be hospitalised: "I'm so happy because I don't have to sleep in the hospital anymore and I can recover at home with my family. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in my fight, particularly those who made it possible for me to come to SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital". The boy is currently in complete remission and expects to recover from the neuroblastoma in the long term.