Current concepts for diagnosis and treatment of retinoblastoma in Germany: aiming for safe tumor control and vision preservation

Klin Padiatr. 2012 Oct;224(6):339-47. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1327563. Epub 2012 Nov 9.


Retinoblastoma affects approximately 40 children in Germany per year. Most children are diagnosed early with localized intraocular disease, and the overall survival rate exceeds 95%. However, the prognosis of metastasized retinoblastoma remains poor. In 40% of the patients, retinoblastoma occurs bilaterally and, especially for these children, the salvage of the eye and visual function is of major importance. The variety of conservative treatment options for localized retinoblastoma includes laser coagulation, thermotherapy, cryotherapy, brachytherapy and chemotherapy. While systemic chemotherapy has nearly completely replaced external beam radiotherapy in the primary treatment of intraocular retinoblastoma, intra-arterial, intravitreal and periocular application of chemotherapy was also shown to be effective in treating intraocular retinoblastoma in case series. Genetic testing is an integral part of the routine diagnostics of all patients. Available tumor material should be analyzed to detect mutational mosaicism, that affects >10% of children with unilateral retinoblastoma. Genetic testing also identifies children with heritable (50% of patients) retinoblastoma. These children have a genetic predisposition for second malignancies. For this reason, late effects are an increasing concern and the care of patients with retinoblastoma requires a multidisciplinary approach to tailor therapy and long-term follow-up. Multicenter clinical trials are being developed to evaluate evidence-based treatment concepts for localized and metastasized retinoblastoma to improve survival rates and quality of life of children with retinoblastoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Disease Progression
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Genes, Retinoblastoma / genetics
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / genetics
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / mortality
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Retinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Retinal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Retinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Retinal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Retinoblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Retinoblastoma / genetics
  • Retinoblastoma / mortality
  • Retinoblastoma / pathology
  • Retinoblastoma / therapy*
  • Survival Rate
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Vision Disorders / mortality
  • Vision Disorders / pathology
  • Vision Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Vision Disorders / therapy*