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Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2006 Oct;18(8):628-34.

Focal stereotactic external beam radiotherapy as a vision-sparing method for the treatment of peripapillary and perimacular retinoblastoma: preliminary results.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Chemotherapy with aggressive focal ablative therapy is now the mainstay of retinoblastoma therapy. Our experience presents an evolution from conventional radiotherapy by treating posterior pole tumours with focal stereotactic fractionated radiotherapy (SRT).


A retrospective chart review was conducted of five patients (six eyes) treated with SRT at the Hospital for Sick Children and Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada, between 1999 and 2004. The prescribed dose was 40 Gy delivered in 20 fractions once daily using 6 MV photons.


Five patients (six eyes) were treated. The median age at the time of SRT was 18 months. The median follow-up was 46.5 months as of September 2004. Four patients were treated for a posterior pole focal tumour by focal SRT, and one patient was treated for vitreous seeding with whole-eye SRT. In patients treated with focal SRT, the median doses to the tumour, optic chiasm and brainstem were 41.92, 0.25 and 0.07 Gy, respectively, and to the ipsilateral optic nerve, globe and lens were 9.98, 19.11 and 3.74 Gy, respectively. The median doses to the ipsilateral and contralateral orbital bone were 6.73 Gy (range 5.99-8.29 Gy) and 2.31 Gy (range 0.88-7.08 Gy), respectively. A complete response (residual inactive scar tissue) was seen in four of the five focal tumours treated, with one tumour responding with a partial response (suspicious residual scar tissue). No acute or late side-effects occurred in patients treated with focal SRT. Only the patient treated with whole-eye SRT developed late effects of cataract and corneal ulceration. One patient suffered recurrence within the radiation field 5 months after focal SRT. Control of this recurrence was successful using chemotherapy and focal therapy. No eye has been enucleated.


Vision-sparing focal SRT for localised tumour masses in critical locations can control tumours with minimal side-effects and a minimal dose to the surrounding critical normal tissue.

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