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Retinoblastoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options for Retinoblastoma

A link to a list of current clinical trials is included for each treatment section. For some types or stages of cancer, there may not be any trials listed. Check with your child's doctor for clinical trials that are not listed here but may be right for your child.

Intraocular Retinoblastoma

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If the cancer is in one or both eyes and it is expected that vision can be saved, treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • External-beam radiation therapy or plaque radiotherapy .
  • Cryotherapy with or without chemotherapy.
  • Thermotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy (chemoreduction).
  • A clinical trial of intensity-modulated radiation therapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, or proton beam radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of ophthalmic arterial infusion therapy.

For large tumors in one or both eyes, treatment may include the following:

  • Enucleation. Chemotherapy may be given to shrink the tumor before surgery or after surgery to lower the risk that the cancer will spread to other parts of the body.

Other treatments for cancer in both eyes include the following:

  • Chemotherapy (chemoreduction) followed by local treatment such as cryotherapy, thermotherapy, or plaque radiotherapy. This may be done if there is a chance to save vision in both eyes.
  • Subtenon chemotherapy combined with systemic chemotherapy and local treatment.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of chemotherapy and other treatments to the eye.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with intraocular retinoblastoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Extraocular Retinoblastoma

There is no standard treatment for extraocular retinoblastoma. Treatment may include combinations of the following:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Surgery.

For retinoblastoma that has spread to the area around the eye, treatment may be the following:

  • Systemic chemotherapy followed by surgery (enucleation). More chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be given after surgery.

For retinoblastoma that has spread to the brain, treatment may be the following:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy to the brain and spinal cord.
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