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Ophthalmology. 2014 Jul;121(7):1453-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2014.01.026. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

Intra-arterial chemotherapy for retinoblastoma in 70 eyes: outcomes based on the international classification of retinoblastoma.

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Ocular Oncology Service, Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:
Ocular Oncology Service, Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware.
Department of Neurovascular and Endovascular Surgery, Department of Neurological Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



To analyze our 5-year experience of intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC) for retinoblastoma as primary or secondary therapy.


Retrospective interventional case series.


A total of 70 eyes of 67 patients.


Ophthalmic artery chemotherapy infusion under fluoroscopic guidance was performed using melphalan (3, 5, or 7.5 mg) in every case, with additional topotecan (1 mg) and/or carboplatin (30 or 50 mg) as necessary.


Tumor control and treatment complications.


The mean patient age at IAC was 30 months. The treatment was primary in 36 eyes and secondary in 34 eyes. Those primary therapy eyes were classified according to the International Classification of Retinoblastoma (ICRB) as group A (n = 0), B (n = 1), C (n = 4), D (n = 17), or E (n = 14). The secondary therapy eyes had failed previous intravenous chemotherapy (n = 34) in every case. Each eye received a mean of 3 IAC sessions per eye (median, 3; range, 1-7 sessions). After IAC with a mean follow-up of 19 months, globe salvage was achieved in 72% of primary-treated cases and in 62% of secondary-treated cases. Specifically, primary therapy achieved globe salvage for group B (100%), group C (100%), group D (94%), and group E (36%). Of all 70 eyes, complete regression was achieved for solid tumor in 48 of 51 eyes (94%), subretinal seeds in 40 of 42 eyes (95%), and vitreous seeds in 34 of 39 eyes (87%). After each catheterization (n = 198), the main complications included transient eyelid edema (5%), blepharoptosis (5%), and forehead hyperemia (2%). More lasting complications included vitreous hemorrhage (2%), branch retinal artery obstruction (1%), ophthalmic artery spasm with reperfusion (2%), ophthalmic artery obstruction (2%), partial choroidal ischemia (2%), and optic neuropathy (<1%). Over the past 3 years, the combined incidence of ophthalmic, retinal, and choroidal vascular ischemia was reduced to 1%. There was no patient with stroke, seizure, neurologic impairment, limb ischemia, secondary leukemia, metastasis, or death.


Five-year experience with IAC indicates that this technique is remarkably effective for the management of retinoblastoma as both a primary and a secondary treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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