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Medulloblastoma Vs Neuroblastoma Differences

Medulloblastoma and neuroblastoma is the condition in which the tumor grows in the nervous system. While in former, the position of tumor is inside the brain while in latter, the position is in the peripheral nervous system.

Difference Between Medulloblastoma Vs Neuroblastoma

Difference Between Medulloblastoma Vs Neuroblastoma

The basic difference between the neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma is of the localization of the tumor. While the neuroblastoma generally occurs in the peripheral nervous system and rarely found in the brain while medulloblastoma always occurs in the brain. Further, of all the types of tumor in the heading Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors (PNET), medulloblastoma is the most common type of tumor. Neuroblastoma is relatively a rare type of tumor.

Medulloblastoma have the features of precursor cells and is generally characterized by the abnormal activation of the Hedgehog or Wnt signaling pathways. Neuroblastoma is the tumor of the peripheral system and usually located in the spinal location of abdomen or chest while medulloblastoma rarely moves out of the brain for metastasis, while neuroblastoma may metastasize in other organs. Neuroblastoma may metastasize to organs such as brain or liver. The response of medulloblastoma towards treatment is poor resulting in the unfavorable prognosis. Neuroblastoma is responsive to treatment and thus shows a favorable prognosis.


Medulloblastoma is the tumor of central nervous system found in children of the age three years to eight years. The cancer does not metastasize outside the brain and the metastasis may occur in cerebrospinal fluid. The condition is poorly responsive to the treatment and due to this the disease have a poor prognosis as compared to neuroblastoma.

Symptoms Of Medulloblastoma

As the condition is related to the brain and specifically to cerebellum, thus most of the symptoms of medulloblastoma are related to brain. Following are the general symptoms of medulloblastoma:

  1. Headache: In the medulloblastoma, the lump is form inside the brain. This creates he pressure on the tissues of the brain leading to moderate to severe headache.
  2. Nausea And Vomiting: The patient of medulloblastoma experiences nausea and vomiting in the morning which worsens with time.
  3. Poor Motor Skills: The primary target organ in medulloblastoma is the cerebellum which is responsible for writing. Thus, the patients suffering with medulloblastoma have poor handwriting and poor motor skills.
  4. Difficulty Balancing And Walking: Cerebellum is an extremely important organ as it helps in walking ad balancing. Tumor growth inside the cerebellum may cause difficulty in walking.


Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that occurs in the peripheral nervous system. Rarely this condition can be found inside the brain. The condition generally occurs in and near the adrenal glands, the glands which are situated just over the kidney. The cancer occurs in the primitive nerve cells which are resent in the fetus. It is the condition that occurs due to the tumor present in the sympathetic nervous system and arises from neuroblasts also known as pluripotent sympathetic cells. The treatment of the condition is generally through general approaches used for cancer such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and observation.

Symptoms Of Neuroblastoma

Following are the symptoms of neuroblastoma:

  1. Lump: Lump is the mass of tissue that develops due to the growth of cancerous cells. In case of neuroblastoma, the lump or mass can be found in abdomen, chest or pelvic region as the tumor grows in the region of adrenal glands.
  2. Eyes Symptoms: Various eye symptoms occur in the patient of neuroblastoma. The symptoms include bulging eyes which may develop if the tumor grows behind the eyes, droopy eyelid and changes in the vision. Further change in the color of iris is also seen in some patients. Further, the problem may also occur in eye muscles.
  3. Pain: Pain may develop in the regions of chest, abdomen and pelvis as the growth of the tumor exerts pressure on the bones.
  4. Gastric Effects: Chronic diarrhea may also occur in some patients due to the effect of lump growth near abdomen.
  5. Anemia: Neuroblastoma may cause low levels of red blood cells leading to anemia, fatigue ad weakness.


Various differences exist in medulloblastoma and neuroblastoma while the former is in brain while the latter has extracranial development. Medulloblastoma is common while the other is relatively rare. Medulloblastoma poorly responds to treatment while neuroblastoma positively response to treatment.


  1. American Cancer Society. (2021). What Is Neuroblastoma? https://www.cancer.org/cancer/neuroblastoma/about/what-is-neuroblastoma.html
  2. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (2021). Medulloblastoma. https://www.stjude.org/disease/medulloblastoma.html
  3. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (2021). Neuroblastoma. https://www.stjude.org/disease/neuroblastoma.html
  4. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Medulloblastoma. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/medulloblastoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20352241

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 28, 2023

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