A proposal for an international retinoblastoma staging system

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2006 Nov;47(6):801-5. doi: 10.1002/pbc.20606.


Background: Although intra-retinal tumor has long been staged presurgically according to the Reese-Ellsworth (R-E) system, retinoblastoma differs from other pediatric neoplasms in never having had a widely accepted classification system that encompasses the entire spectrum of the disease. Comparisons among studies that consider disease extension, risk factors for extra-ocular relapse, and response to therapy require a universally accepted staging system for extra-ocular disease.

Procedure: A committee of retinoblastoma experts from large centers worldwide has developed a consensus classification that can encompass all retinoblastoma cases and is presented herein. Patients are classified according to extent of disease and the presence of overt extra-ocular extension. In addition, a proposal for substaging considering histopathological features of enucleated specimens is presented to further discriminate between Stage I and II patients.

Results: The following is a summary of the classification system developed-Stage 0: Patients treated conservatively (subject to presurgical ophthalmologic classifications); Stage I: Eye enucleated, completely resected histologically; Stage II: Eye enucleated, microscopic residual tumor; Stage III: Regional extension [(a) overt orbital disease, (b) preauricular or cervical lymph node extension]; Stage IV: Metastatic disease [(a) hematogenous metastasis: (1) single lesion, (2) multiple lesions; (b) CNS extension: (1) prechiasmatic lesion, (2) CNS mass, (3) leptomeningeal disease]. A proposal is also presented for substaging of enucleated Stages I and II eyes.

Conclusions: The proposed staging system is the product of an international effort to adopt a uniform staging system for patients with retinoblastoma to cover the whole spectrum of the disease.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging / standards*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / classification*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Retinoblastoma / classification*
  • Retinoblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Retinoblastoma / pathology