Objective: This study aimed to investigate the incidence, timing, pattern, and distribution of, as well as survival as a result of, third, fourth, and fifth primary tumors in survivors of retinoblastoma.
Design: This study was a retrospective case series of patients diagnosed with retinoblastoma and a second malignant neoplasm. Records were examined for demographic, prior treatment, and second tumor information, as well as any evidence of the development of a third, fourth, or fifth nonocular tumor. When possible, telephone inquiries were conducted for follow-up.
Participants: The study included 1506 patients followed in the Ophthalmic Oncology Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, 211 of whom developed a second tumor and had sufficient treatment data to be useful for analysis.
Main outcome measures: The development of third and additional nonocular tumors and survival from these tumors were the primary outcome measures.
Results: Of 211 second-tumor patients, 142 died before an additional malignancy developed (median survival time, 1.8 +/- 0.3 years) and in 28, third tumors developed (5-year incidence rate, 11%; 10-year incidence rate, 22%; median time to third tumor development, 5.8 +/- 8.3 years). The 5- and 10-year survival rates for this group were 41% and 30%, respectively (median survival time, 4.1 +/- 1.0 years). Of 28 patients in whom third tumors developed, 27 (96%) had received radiation therapy for their retinoblastoma. The most common sites for third tumors were soft tissues of the head (36% of all third tumors) and skin (36% of all third tumors). In six patients, a fourth tumor developed, and in two patients a fifth tumor developed. All fourth and fifth tumors were found in the soft tissues of the head, the skin, or the bones.
Conclusions: Survivors of retinoblastoma in whom second malignant neoplasms develop are at a higher risk for the development of additional tumors than they were for the development of a second tumor. The locations and expected ages at which additional tumors develop are consistent with the patterns we have seen in second tumors.