Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Current issue Search Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 
  • Users Online: 1443
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

   Table of Contents      
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 2365-2366

Commentary: Retinoblastoma management–Where are we and where do we go from here?

Department of Vitreoretinal Services and Ocular Oncology, Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication26-Oct-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. P Mahesh Shanmugam
Sankara Eye Hospital, Kundalahalli Gate, Bangalore - 560 037, Karnataka
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1954_20

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Shanmugam P M. Commentary: Retinoblastoma management–Where are we and where do we go from here?. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:2365-6

How to cite this URL:
Shanmugam P M. Commentary: Retinoblastoma management–Where are we and where do we go from here?. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Nov 25];68:2365-6. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2020/68/11/2365/299039

We are presented with an excellent review of contemporary retinoblastoma management in this issue of the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.[1] India along with other lower-middle-income countries contribute nearly 45% of retinoblastoma cases in the world.[2] We, in India, have made rapid strides in the last two decades in managing retinoblastoma with outcomes comparable with those of the developing countries. All the contemporary treatment modalities listed in the article are available to Indian retinoblastoma patients, albeit in select centers across our country.

Where do we differ in comparison with the developed world:

  1. Delayed presentation of disease: Children with retinoblastoma present later in our country than those in advanced countries. This is with a more advanced stage of the intraocular disease and, more often, with the extraocular disease (in certain pockets of the country).[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] Improving awareness of retinoblastoma, increasing availability of ocular oncology care across the country, and possible adoption of universal eye screening of all infants can result in earlier diagnosis of retinoblastoma in our country and ultimately resulting in improved outcomes
  2. Sparse use of intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC): The high cost of IAC in India has restricted its widespread use resulting in the selection of intravenous chemotherapy (IVC) to treat even unilateral tumors.[8] The cost of consumables used and paucity of governmental and nongovernmental trust hospitals offering this treatment make it unviable for large-scale adoption of IAC in our country. Indigenous development of cost-effective consumables, rationalizing the costs, and increasing the number of centers offering the treatment can help the transition from IVC to IAC
  3. Poor penetration of genetic testing: We do not perform genetic testing as often as we should, because of the paucity of testing centers and the high cost of the tests. While we have the technical finesse to offer prenatal sampling and diagnosis, the capabilities are restricted to a few urban centers in the country. Awareness among clinicians of the need for genetic testing, identifying/creating genetic testing centers, and rationalizing the cost of the tests can mitigate this lacuna in retinoblastoma care in India
  4. There is a paucity of support groups to help counsel and educate the family and Retinoblastoma (RB) survivors in our country. The involvement of retinoblastoma specific nongovernmental organizations and a conscious effort by the existing caregivers to create such groups will aid in creating this much-missed support structure
  5. The high note is the accessibility of retinoblastoma care in India to the less privileged. A combination of select governmental and nongovernmental trust hospitals offer free/subsidized world-class retinoblastoma care to a large segment of the patient population. A recent initiative to create a collective of all retinoblastoma centers in India promises enhanced funded care to the many more retinoblastoma patients in the near future.

Invading an eye with retinoblastoma for therapeutic purposes is less often being considered a taboo. We are slowly but cautiously adopting intraocular therapies in treating retinoblastoma. Intravitreal chemotherapy, pioneered by Kaneko et al., has been adopted to treat resistant vitreous disease, and following an established protocol in delivering the chemotherapeutic agents into the eye has not shown to increase the risk of extraocular disease.[9] Vitrectomy to treat vision-threatening complications, such as rhegmatogenous retinal detachment and vitreous hemorrhage, was seldom considered as a safe option in retinoblastoma and was withheld until complete, sustained regression of the tumor was ensured. On the other hand, there are reports of resistant retinoblastoma being treated with vitrectomy.[10] While such an aggressive approach may not be warranted, a judicious approach to adopting an early vitrectomy in retinoblastoma eyes with vision-threatening complications, such as rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, may allow improved visual recovery, particularly important in one-eyed patients. It is important to stress that invading an eye with retinoblastoma for therapeutic purposes is still fraught with the risk of converting a relatively safe intraocular retinoblastoma into a life-threatening extraocular disease. However, treading with abundant caution, select eyes with vision-threatening complications are being treated with earlier vitrectomy under cover of systemic chemotherapy and a continuous intraoperative infusion of chemotherapeutic agents. Special attention to sclerotomy sites by adopting techniques to minimize extraocular spillage of cells and prophylactic treatment of sclerotomy sites with cryotherapy tend to minimize the risks. Continued systemic chemotherapy and, if necessary, external beam irradiation of the eye and orbit also mitigate the risk of extraocular/metastatic disease after vitreous surgery in these eyes. A meticulous case selection and a pre-, intra-, and postsurgical protocol aimed at mitigating spillage and prompt treatment of possible spillage will allow the treatment of such extreme cases.

Managing retinoblastoma has changed considerably in the last three decades, but the basic tenets remain—saving a life takes priority followed by saving the eye and vision. Having improved the survival rates, we are moving toward salvage of eyes with advanced staging and those with vision-threatening complications. We need to improve on lowering the age at diagnosis of retinoblastoma, increasing penetrance of genetic testing and cost-effective IAC, and creating robust support groups as we cautiously explore salvaging more eyes with advanced disease and complications.

  References Top

Ancona-Lezama D, Dalvin LA, Shields CL. Modern treatment of retinoblastoma: A 2020 review. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:2356-65.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Global Retinoblastoma Study Group, Fabian ID, Abdallah E, et al. Global Retinoblastoma Presentation and Analysis by National Income Level. JAMA Oncol. 2020;6:685-95.   Back to cited text no. 2
Shanmugam M, Biswas J, Gopal L, Sharma T, Nizamuddin S. The clinical spectrum and treatment outcome of retinoblastoma in Indian Children. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus 2005;42:75-81.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kaliki S, Patel A, Iram S, Ramappa G, Mohamed A, Palkonda VAR. RETINOBLASTOMA IN INDIA: Clinical presentation and outcome in 1,457 patients (2,074 Eyes). Retina 2019;39:379-91.  Back to cited text no. 4
Chawla B, Hasan F, Azad R, Seth R, Upadhyay AD, Pathy S, et al. Clinical presentation and survival of retinoblastoma in Indian children. Br J Ophthalmol 2016;100:172-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Singh U, Katoch D, Kaur S, Dogra MR, Bansal D, Kapoor R. Retinoblastoma: A sixteen-year review of the presentation, treatment, and outcome from a tertiary care institute in Northern India. Ocul Oncol Pathol 2018;4:23-32.  Back to cited text no. 6
Honavar SG, Manjandavida FP, Reddy VAP. Orbital retinoblastoma: An update. Indian J Ophthalmol 2017;65:435-42.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Shanmugam PM. Commentary: The shift to intra-arterial chemotherapy-Relevance in Indian context. Indian J Ophthalmol 2019;67:2011-2.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Kaneko A, Suzuki S. Eye-preservation treatment of retinoblastoma with vitreous seeding. Jpn J Clin Oncol 2003;12:601-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
Zhao J, Li Q, Wu S, Jin L, Ma X, Jin M, et al. Pars plana vitrectomy and endoresection of refractory intraocular retinoblastoma. Ophthalmology 2018;125:320-2.  Back to cited text no. 10


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded57    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal