Retinoblastoma medical therapy

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sahar Memar Montazerin, M.D.[2] Simrat Sarai, M.D. [3]


The optimal therapy for retinoblastoma depends on the stage at diagnosis. Systemic chemotherapy via carboplatin, etoposide, and vincristine (CEV) is the most common regimen used to treat retinoblastoma.

Medical Therapy

Systemic Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy Regimen

  • The most common chemotherapy regimen for retinoblastoma is the combination of the following:[4][5][6]
  • This combination may be used with different dose of medication and frequency depending upon the stage of the tumor.
    • Usually, the treatment regimen is comprised of either three sessions of high dose regimen or six sessions of low dose regimen.
    • Low dose regimen:
      • Carboplatin 18.6 mg/kg IV q24h for one day and repeated every (21 - 28) days
      • Etoposide 5 mg/kg IV q24h for two days and repeated (21 - 28) days
      • Vincristine 0.05 mg/kg IV q24h for one day and repeated every (21 - 28) days
    • High dose regimen:
      • Carboplatin 28 mg/kg IV q24h for one day and repeated every (21 - 28) days
      • Etoposide 12 mg/kg IV q24h for two days and repeated every (21 - 28) days
      • Vincristine 0.05 mg/kg IV q24h for one day and repeated every (21 - 28) days
    • The above mentioned dosage is recommended for orbital retinoblastoma and is subject to change for other types of tumor presentation.

Intra-arterial Chemotherapy

Other Interventions

  • Other treatment modalities which are currently available for retinoblastoma include:[7]

External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT)

  • Groups I–II eyes: 95%
  • Groups IV and V eyes: 50%




Laser Photocoagulation


Management Options of Retinoblastoma

Treatment options for Intraocular tumor[8]
Unilateral retinoblastoma
Bilateral retinoblastoma
Cavitary retinoblastoma
Progressive or recurrent intraocular retinoblastoma
Treatment options for Extraocular tumor[8]
Orbital and locoregional retinoblastoma
CNS disease
Trilateral retinoblastoma
Extracranial metastatic retinoblastoma
Progressive or recurrent extraocular retinoblastoma


  1. Retinoblastoma Treatment. National Cancer Institute(2015) Accessed on October 13, 2015
  2. Shields CL, Shields JA (1999). "Recent developments in the management of retinoblastoma". J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 36 (1): 8–18, quiz 35-6. PMID 9972509.
  3. Venkatramani, Rajkumar; Jubran, Rima Fuad (2015). "Retinoblastoma: Intravenous Chemotherapy": 119–127. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-43451-2_11.
  4. Rodriguez-Galindo, Carlos; Wilson, Matthew W.; Haik, Barrett G.; Merchant, Thomas E.; Billups, Catherine A.; Shah, Nirali; Cain, Alvida; Langston, James; Lipson, Mindy; Kun, Larry E.; Pratt, Charles B. (2003). "Treatment of Intraocular Retinoblastoma With Vincristine and Carboplatin". Journal of Clinical Oncology. 21 (10): 2019–2025. doi:10.1200/JCO.2003.09.103. ISSN 0732-183X.
  5. Gallie BL, Budning A, DeBoer G, Thiessen JJ, Koren G, Verjee Z, Ling V, Chan HS (November 1996). "Chemotherapy with focal therapy can cure intraocular retinoblastoma without radiotherapy". Arch. Ophthalmol. 114 (11): 1321–8. PMID 8906022.
  6. Dunkel IJ, Lee TC, Shi W, Beaverson KL, Novetsky D, Lyden D, Finlay JL, McCormick B, Abramson DH (October 2007). "A phase II trial of carboplatin for intraocular retinoblastoma". Pediatr Blood Cancer. 49 (5): 643–8. doi:10.1002/pbc.21163. PMID 17301956.
  7. Kim, Jonathan W.; Murphree, A. Linn; Singh, Arun D. (2015). "Retinoblastoma: Treatment Options": 89–107. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-43451-2_9.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Retinoblastoma Treatment (PDQ®)—Health Professional Version - National Cancer Institute".