Postirradiation sarcoma in retinoblastoma. Induction or predisposition?

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988 Jun;114(6):640-4. doi: 10.1001/archotol.1988.01860180054029.


An alarmingly high rate of postirradiation sarcomas following treatment for retinoblastoma has been described in the literature. We present four new cases and report 57 others from the English literature. Osteogenic sarcoma was the predominant histologic type (58%), followed by fibrosarcoma (21%) and various other sarcomas (21%). The average latency period between irradiation and development of the second primary (sarcoma) was 12.4 years. Irrespective of irradiation, a genetic linkage between retinoblastoma and osteogenic sarcoma on the 13q14 chromosome is recognized. Through a pleiotropic effect of this same chromosome, a predisposition for other sarcomas may exist as well. Finally, a strong role for radiation induction is proposed for all of these postirradiation sarcomas. This is based on the increased number of sarcomas arising in the field of prior irradiation (sites uncharacteristic of spontaneously occurring primary sarcomas) and the prolonged latency periods.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Eye Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Fibrosarcoma / etiology
  • Fibrosarcoma / genetics
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced*
  • Osteosarcoma / etiology
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Retinoblastoma / genetics
  • Retinoblastoma / radiotherapy*
  • Sarcoma* / etiology
  • Sarcoma* / genetics
  • Time Factors