Second primary neoplasms in patients with retinoblastoma

Br J Cancer. 1986 May;53(5):661-71. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1986.110.


In a series of 882 retinoblastoma patients, 384 known to have the genetic form of the disease and 498 others, 30 patients developed second primary neoplasms. The spectrum of these second neoplasms is discussed in relation to the forms of treatment used for the retinoblastoma. Cumulative incidence rates of second tumours in the whole series are 2.0% at 12 years after diagnosis and 4.2% after 18 years. For patients with the genetic form of retinoblastoma the cumulative incidence rate after 18 years is 8.4% for all second neoplasms and 6.0% for osteosarcomas alone. The inherent risk among survivors from genetic retinoblastoma of developing an osteosarcoma, excluding all possible effects of treatment, is estimated to be 2.2% after 18 years. Within the field of radiation treatment the cumulative incidence rate for all second neoplasms after 18 years is 6.6% and for osteosarcomas alone 3.7%. There is some evidence that patients with genetic retinoblastoma are particularly sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of radiation. The results also suggest that the use of cyclophosphamide may increase the risk of second primary neoplasms in patients with genetic retinoblastoma. The incidence rates of second primary neoplasms in retinoblastoma survivors reported here are lower than those quoted for previously published series. Evidence from this and other papers strongly suggests an association between retinoblastoma and malignant melanoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyclophosphamide / adverse effects
  • Eye Neoplasms / genetics
  • Eye Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / genetics
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Retinoblastoma / genetics
  • Retinoblastoma / therapy*
  • United Kingdom


  • Cyclophosphamide