Combined chemotherapy and local treatment in the management of intraocular retinoblastoma

Med Pediatr Oncol. 2002 Jun;38(6):411-5. doi: 10.1002/mpo.1355.


Background: To assess the efficacy of chemotherapy (chemoreduction) plus local treatments as an alternative to external beam and enucleation for intraocular retinoblastoma.

Materials and methods: A prospective study was performed on 21 patients with retinoblastoma treated in our institution from September 1997 to December 2000 to study the ocular outcome of those 33 eyes.

Results: There were 9 unilateral and 12 bilateral retinoblastoma cases. There were 12 eyes with Reese-Ellsworth group I-IV and 21 eyes with group V. Among 33 eyes, nine eyes (27%) were initially managed by enucleation. The remaining 24 eyes (73%) were initially treated with chemoreduction (maximum of six cycles of carboplatin, vincristine, etoposide) or chemothermotherapy. Among those 24 eyes, 20 were successfully treated with local treatments (thermotherapy plus cryotherapy in 16 eyes and thermotherapy plus cryotherapy plus (125)I plaque radiotherapy in 4 eyes), enucleation eventually underwent in two eyes and was proposed but refused in one child with bilateral group V retinoblastoma. With a median follow-up of 21 months, conservative management without external beam radiation was successful in all 12 eyes with group I-IV and in a total of 20/33 eyes (60%). Among the nine cases of unilateral retinoblastoma, eight were enucleated but among the 24 eyes with bilateral retinoblastoma, 19 (79%) were successfully treated with conservative therapy.

Conclusions: It may be possible to eradicate viable tumor in all eyes with Reese-Ellsworth group I-IV retinoblastoma by chemoreduction followed by local treatments. Although 8 out of 21 eyes (38%) with group V retinoblastoma may be salvaged after chemoreduction and local therapies, enucleation remained the treatment of choice in those eyes with total retinal detachment and diffuse vitreous seeding.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carboplatin / administration & dosage
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Eye Enucleation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Retinal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Retinoblastoma / drug therapy
  • Retinoblastoma / therapy*
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage


  • Vincristine
  • Etoposide
  • Carboplatin