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Radiother Oncol. 1985 Feb;3(2):117-32.

Treatment of retinoblastoma by precision megavoltage radiation therapy.


The principal treatment concept in the Utrecht Retinoblastoma Centre is megavoltage irradiation, followed by light coagulation and/or cryotherapy if there is any doubt as to whether the residual tumour is still active. Radiation therapy is administered by means of a simple but highly accurate temporal beam technique. A standardized dose of 45 Gy is given in 15 fractions of 3 Gy at 3 fractions per week. From 1971 to 1982, 39 children with retinoblastoma have been irradiated in at least one eye. Of the 73 affected eyes, 18 were primarily enucleated, one received light coagulation only, and 54 received radiation therapy. Of the 54 irradiated eyes, 32 were additionally treated by light coagulation and/or cryotherapy for suspicious residual tumour (in 29 eyes), recurrent tumour (in 1 eye), and/or new tumour (in 3 eyes) and 10 were ultimately enucleated. Two eyes also received hyperthermia. The percentages of cure of the irradiated eyes with a minimum follow-up of 2 years were 100% (14/14), 100% (9/9), 83% (10/12), 79% (11/14) and 0% (0/5) in the Reese-Ellsworth groups I to V-A, respectively. Of the saved eyes 95% achieved useful vision. Eighteen eyes developed a clinically detectable radiation cataract; in five of these the lens was aspirated. Cataracts developed exclusively in those lenses of which a posterior portion of more than 1 mm had to be included in the treatment field. The likelihood and the degree of cataract formation was found to be directly related to the dose of radiation to the germinative zone of the lens epithelium. The minimum cataractogenic dose found in this series was 8 Gy.

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