A review of the literature for intra-arterial chemotherapy used to treat retinoblastoma

Pediatr Radiol. 2016 Aug;46(9):1223-33. doi: 10.1007/s00247-016-3554-6. Epub 2016 Feb 17.


Retinoblastoma is a malignancy of the retina that usually presents before the age of 5 years. Sporadic retinoblastoma is most often unilateral and with no hereditary influence, whereas familial retinoblastoma presents unilaterally or bilaterally in conjunction with genetic inheritance. Several treatments have been attempted with the goals of saving the child's life, salvaging the eye, and preserving vision. Alternative methods including external beam radiation, systemic chemotherapy and focal therapies have been shown to be effective but carry a risk of enucleation and other complications proportional to the severity of the tumor. Selective intra-arterial chemotherapy for retinoblastoma began in 1988 in Japan and has emerged in the last 7 years in the United States as a feasible, effective and minimally invasive treatment option. We review the retinoblastoma treatment literature focusing on intra-arterial chemotherapy.

Keywords: Children; International classification; Intra-arterial chemotherapy; Melphalan; Reese–Ellsworth classification; Retinoblastoma; Systemic chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infusions, Intra-Arterial
  • Ophthalmic Artery
  • Radiography, Interventional*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Retinoblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Retinoblastoma / pathology
  • Survival Rate


  • Antineoplastic Agents