Purpose of review: The management of retinoblastoma is complex and involves strategically chosen methods of enucleation, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, laser photocoagulation, thermotherapy, and cryotherapy. Chemotherapy has become the most common eye-sparing modality. There are four routes of delivery of chemotherapy for retinoblastoma, including intravenous, intra-arterial, periocular, and intravitreal techniques. The purpose of this review is to discuss the current rationale for each method and the anticipated outcomes.
Recent findings: The diagnosis of retinoblastoma should be clinically established prior to embarking on a chemotherapy protocol. There are over 25 conditions that can closely simulate retinoblastoma in a young child. In addition, enucleation is an acceptable method for management, particularly with advanced retinoblastoma. Intravenous chemotherapy is generally used for germline mutation (bilateral, familial) retinoblastoma with excellent tumor control for groups A, B, and C and intermediate control for group D eyes. Intra-arterial chemotherapy is used as primary therapy in selected cases for nongermline mutation (unilateral) retinoblastoma with excellent control, and also used as secondary therapy for recurrent solid retinoblastoma, subretinal seeds, and vitreous seeds. Periocular chemotherapy is employed to boost local chemotherapy dose in advanced bilateral groups D and E eyes or for localized recurrences. Intravitreal chemotherapy is used for recurrent vitreous seeds from retinoblastoma. Patients at high risk for metastases should receive intravenous chemotherapy.
Summary: Chemotherapy is effective for retinoblastoma and the targeted treatment route depends on the clinical features and anticipated outcomes.