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Retinoblastoma Treatment (PDQ®)

Patient Version

Treatment Options for Retinoblastoma

Treatment of Unilateral and Bilateral Retinoblastoma

If it is expected that the eye can be saved, treatment may include the following:

If the tumor is large and it is expected that the eye cannot be saved, treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery (enucleation). After surgery, systemic chemotherapy may be given to lower the risk that the cancer will spread to other parts of the body.

When retinoblastoma is in both eyes, the treatment for each eye may be different, depending on the size of the tumor and whether it is expected that the eye can be saved. The dose of systemic chemotherapy is usually based on the eye that has more cancer.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with intraocular retinoblastoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Treatment of Extraocular Retinoblastoma

Treatment for extraocular retinoblastoma that has spread to the area around the eye may include the following:

Treatment for extraocular retinoblastoma that has spread to the brain may include the following:

It is not clear whether treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue improves survival for patients with extraocular retinoblastoma.

For trilateral retinoblastoma, treatment may include the following:

  • Systemic chemotherapy followed by high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue.
  • Systemic chemotherapy followed by surgery and radiation therapy.

For retinoblastoma that has spread to other parts of the body, treatment may include the following:

  • Chemotherapy followed by high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with extraocular retinoblastoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Treatment of Progressive or Recurrent Retinoblastoma

Treatment of progressive or recurrent intraocular retinoblastoma may include the following:

Treatment of progressive or recurrent extraocular retinoblastoma may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent retinoblastoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with intraocular retinoblastoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

  • Updated: November 6, 2014