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    Retinoblastoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment Options for Extraocular Retinoblastoma


    Computed tomography scans are avoided for routine screening in these children to minimize exposure to ionizing radiation.

    Extracranial metastatic retinoblastoma

    Standard treatment options for extracranial metastatic retinoblastoma include the following:

    1. Systemic chemotherapy followed by myeloablative chemotherapy with stem cell rescue and radiation therapy.

    Hematogenous metastases may develop in the bones, bone marrow, and less frequently, in the liver. Although long-term survivors have been reported with conventional chemotherapy, these reports should be considered anecdotal; metastatic retinoblastoma is not curable with conventional chemotherapy. In recent years, however, studies of small series of patients have shown that metastatic retinoblastoma can be cured using high-dose, marrow-ablative chemotherapy and autologous hematopoietic stem cell rescue.[11,12,13,14,15,16,17]; [18][Level of evidence: 3iiA]

    Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation for Extraocular Retinoblastoma

    The following is an example of a national and/or institutional clinical trial that is currently being conducted. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

    • COG-ARET0321 (Combination Chemotherapy, Autologous Stem Cell Transplant [SCT], and/or Radiation Therapy in Treating Young Patients With Extraocular Retinoblastoma): Patients with metastatic or recurrent retinoblastoma that is beyond the globe are eligible for treatment with combined conventional chemotherapy, high-dose chemotherapy, and SCT with conventional radiation.

    Current Clinical Trials

    Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with extraocular retinoblastoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

    General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


    1. Antoneli CB, Ribeiro KB, Rodriguez-Galindo C, et al.: The addition of ifosfamide/etoposide to cisplatin/teniposide improves the survival of children with retinoblastoma and orbital involvement. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 29 (10): 700-4, 2007.
    2. Aerts I, Sastre-Garau X, Savignoni A, et al.: Results of a multicenter prospective study on the postoperative treatment of unilateral retinoblastoma after primary enucleation. J Clin Oncol 31 (11): 1458-63, 2013.
    3. Radhakrishnan V, Kashyap S, Pushker N, et al.: Outcome, pathologic findings, and compliance in orbital retinoblastoma (International Retinoblastoma Staging System stage III) treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy: a prospective study. Ophthalmology 119 (7): 1470-7, 2012.
    4. Dunkel IJ, Chan HS, Jubran R, et al.: High-dose chemotherapy with autologous hematopoietic stem cell rescue for stage 4B retinoblastoma. Pediatr Blood Cancer 55 (1): 149-52, 2010.
    5. Rodjan F, de Graaf P, Brisse HJ, et al.: Trilateral retinoblastoma: neuroimaging characteristics and value of routine brain screening on admission. J Neurooncol 109 (3): 535-44, 2012.
    6. Paulino AC: Trilateral retinoblastoma: is the location of the intracranial tumor important? Cancer 86 (1): 135-41, 1999.
    7. Blach LE, McCormick B, Abramson DH, et al.: Trilateral retinoblastoma--incidence and outcome: a decade of experience. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 29 (4): 729-33, 1994.
    8. Kivelä T: Trilateral retinoblastoma: a meta-analysis of hereditary retinoblastoma associated with primary ectopic intracranial retinoblastoma. J Clin Oncol 17 (6): 1829-37, 1999.
    9. Marcus DM, Brooks SE, Leff G, et al.: Trilateral retinoblastoma: insights into histogenesis and management. Surv Ophthalmol 43 (1): 59-70, 1998 Jul-Aug.
    10. Dunkel IJ, Jubran RF, Gururangan S, et al.: Trilateral retinoblastoma: potentially curable with intensive chemotherapy. Pediatr Blood Cancer 54 (3): 384-7, 2010.
    11. Namouni F, Doz F, Tanguy ML, et al.: High-dose chemotherapy with carboplatin, etoposide and cyclophosphamide followed by a haematopoietic stem cell rescue in patients with high-risk retinoblastoma: a SFOP and SFGM study. Eur J Cancer 33 (14): 2368-75, 1997.
    12. Kremens B, Wieland R, Reinhard H, et al.: High-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue in children with retinoblastoma. Bone Marrow Transplant 31 (4): 281-4, 2003.
    13. Rodriguez-Galindo C, Wilson MW, Haik BG, et al.: Treatment of metastatic retinoblastoma. Ophthalmology 110 (6): 1237-40, 2003.
    14. Dunkel IJ, Aledo A, Kernan NA, et al.: Successful treatment of metastatic retinoblastoma. Cancer 89 (10): 2117-21, 2000.
    15. Matsubara H, Makimoto A, Higa T, et al.: A multidisciplinary treatment strategy that includes high-dose chemotherapy for metastatic retinoblastoma without CNS involvement. Bone Marrow Transplant 35 (8): 763-6, 2005.
    16. Jubran RF, Erdreich-Epstein A, Butturini A, et al.: Approaches to treatment for extraocular retinoblastoma: Children's Hospital Los Angeles experience. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 26 (1): 31-4, 2004.
    17. Palma J, Sasso DF, Dufort G, et al.: Successful treatment of metastatic retinoblastoma with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell rescue in South America. Bone Marrow Transplant 47 (4): 522-7, 2012.
    18. Dunkel IJ, Khakoo Y, Kernan NA, et al.: Intensive multimodality therapy for patients with stage 4a metastatic retinoblastoma. Pediatr Blood Cancer 55 (1): 55-9, 2010.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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