To evaluate the efficacy of conservative management of intraocular retinoblastoma with chemoreduction combined with local therapy with or without plaque radiation in the preservation of the eye, and avoidance of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) (success rate). From 1995 to 2000, 84 newly diagnosed patients with intraocular retinoblastoma were admitted to the Pediatric Department of the Hospital do Cancer A.C. Camargo, São Paulo, Brazil. All children were treated with 2 to 6 cycles of chemotherapy (carboplatin, vincristine, and etoposide) plus local therapy (cryotherapy, laser photocoagulation, and thermotherapy), or plaque radiation therapy during and/or after the chemotherapy. The Mann-Whitney test was used to compare means of quantitative variables. The chi test or the Fisher exact test were employed to verify the association between the outcome and the independent variables. For all tests alpha=5% was adopted. Success rate was higher for patients with bilateral tumors (54%) than for children with unilateral tumors (19%) (P=0.003). For patients with Reese-Ellsworth stages I, II, and III, no statistically significant differences in the success rates were noted in the group of unilateral (50%) and bilateral tumors (79.1%) (P=0.179). Among children with Reese-Ellsworth stages IV and V, the success rate was significantly higher for patients with bilateral tumors (40.7%) than for those with unilateral (0%) (P=0.012). Chemoreduction combined with local therapy, with or without plaque radiotherapy, is efficacious in avoiding enucleation and the use of external beam radiation therapy for children with intraocular retinoblastoma.