In 1901, Pepper was the first to report a case of neuroblastoma in a neonate. He reported a 4-week old neonate in whom neuroblastoma developed; the patient had convulsions and died. He described six cases including this case as "gcongenital sarcoma of the liver and adrenal glands."
In 1907, Robert Hutchinson reported seven cases of an adrenal gland tumor that metastasized to the orbit (eye socket) in London. Of the seven cases, only one occurred in a patient aged less than one year, and the outcome of all cases was miserable death.
Gradually, researchers began to understand that neuroblastoma has a better prognosis in children aged less than one year than in children aged one year or older. In 1971, D'Angio was the first to report that neuroblastoma in neonates underwent spontaneous regression. Then, Evans proposed to a form of neuroblastoma that is classified as Stage 4S (S for special). The patients with this special form of neuroblastoma can survive with mild treatment even if it has metastasized to the liver, skin, or bone marrow.
As for the history in Japan, a study group of the Ministry of Health and Welfare/Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has played a central role in conducting research and treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma. The group was led by Dr. Sawaguchi from 1985 , Dr. Tsuchida from 1991, Dr. Kaneko from 1998, and Dr. Ikeda from 2007, and the therapeutic outcomes have gradually improved. Aside from this, local groups across Japan conducted clinical researches and the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation (PBSCT) Study Group developed treatments. In 2006, the JNBSG was established with the participation of almost all medical institutions studying neuroblastoma across Japan. Now, clinical studies of all types of neuroblastoma are about to begin.