Osteosarcoma following retinoblastoma: age at onset and latency period

Ophthalmic Genet. 2001 Jun;22(2):77-88. doi: 10.1076/opge.


In order to assess the role of genetic predisposition in the induction of radiation-induced tumors, we performed statistical analysis on data from the literature and from our own Institute with regard to the age at onset and the latency period of osteosarcoma as the second primary tumor for retinoblastoma with or without subsequent radiotherapy. In retinoblastoma survivors who subsequently developed osteosarcoma, the age at onset of retinoblastoma was young (average of 12 months) in both unilateral and bilateral forms. This suggests that all or almost all of the patients were genetically predisposed by a mutation of one allele of the RB1 gene. For retinoblastoma patients, osteosarcomas occurred 1.2 years earlier inside than outside the radiation field. The latency period between radiotherapy and osteosarcoma onset was 1.3 years shorter inside than outside the radiation field. Interestingly, a bimodal distribution of latency periods was observed for osteosarcomas arising inside, but not outside the radiation field: 40% occurred after a short latency, while the latency of the remaining 60% was comparable to that of osteosarcoma occurring outside the radiation field. This suggests that different mechanisms may be involved in radiocarcinogenesis. A radiation-induced mutation of the second RB1 allele may be the cause of osteosarcomas occurring after a short delay, while other genes may be affected in those occurring after a longer delay.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Bone Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Genes, Retinoblastoma / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / genetics
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / genetics
  • Osteosarcoma / etiology*
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Retinal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Retinoblastoma / radiotherapy*
  • Time Factors