How do you treat retinoblastoma


Retinoblastoma is a rare cancer of the eye that only occurs in childhood. This text provides you with detailed information on the clinical picture, possible causes and symptoms as well as the course of the disease, diagnostics, therapy planning, treatment, rehabilitation, follow-up care and prognosis.

Author: Maria Yiallouros, created on: January 22nd, 2010, approval: Dr. med. Ch. Jurklies / Prof. Dr. N. Bornfeld, last changed: 05.01.2018 doi: 10.1591 / poh.retino-patinfo.1.20120611

Retinoblastoma is a malignant embryonic solid tumor of the retina that occurs primarily in infants and young children. Overall, the disease (with a share of 2% of all cancers in children and adolescents) is rare. However, it is the most common (intraocular) malignant tumor that occurs in the eye in childhood. One or both eyes can be affected.

Retinoblastomas grow rapidly and, starting from the eyeball, can also spread to the eye socket and, along the optic nerve, to the central nervous system (CNS) and (via the blood and / or lymphatic pathways) to other organs.

If left untreated, retinoblastoma is almost always fatal, and only in very rare cases (1-2%) does it resolve on its own. At the same time it is one of the curable malignant diseases.

If the tumor is recognized and treated in good time, more than 95% of children suffering from this type of cancer can be cured today [KAA2016]. However, this often requires the removal of the affected eye or external irradiation. The development of new therapies tries to optimize these treatment methods with their negative consequences.

Notes on the text

The following information text on retinoblastoma is aimed at patients and their relatives as well as the interested public. It is intended to help explain this disease and the options for treating it. The information is not a substitute for the necessary clarifying discussions with the treating physicians and other members of the treatment team; however, they can help to prepare these conversations and to understand them better.

The information has mainly been compiled on the basis of the literature listed below. Further literature sources are mentioned in the text.

Basic literature used

  1. Temming P, Eggert A, Bornfeld N, Sauerwein W, Göricke S, Lohmann DR: [Diagnosis and treatment of retinoblastoma: current strategies for effective tumor control and preservation of vision]. Clinical Monthly Sheets for Ophthalmology 2013, 230: 232 [PMID: 23508752] TEM2013a
  2. Temming P, Corson TW, Lohmann DR: Retinoblastoma tumorigenesis: genetic and epigenetic changes walk hand in hand. Future oncology (London, England) 2012, 8: 525 [PMID: 22646767] TEM2012
  3. Lohmann D: The Genetics of Retinoblastoma. WIR information sheet of the campaign for children with cancer (Bonn) 2007, 1:31 [URI: fileadmin / KKS / files / zeitschriftWIR / 2007_1 / WIR_01_07_S31-33.pdf] LOH2007
  4. Jurklies C: The retinoblastoma - diagnosis and therapy. WIR information sheet of the campaign for children with cancer (Bonn) 2007, 1:26 [URI: fileadmin / KKS / files / zeitschriftWIR / 2007_1 / WIR_01_07_S26-31.pdf] JUR2007
  5. Gutjahr P: Retinoblastomas, in: Gutjahr P (Ed.): Cancer in children and adolescents. Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag Cologne 5th edition 2004, 499 [ISBN: 3769104285] GUT2004b
  6. Wieland R, Havers W: Retinoblastomas. In: Gadner H, Gaedicke G, Niemeyer CH, Ritter J (ed.): Pediatric hematology and oncology. Springer-Verlag 2006, 823 [ISBN: 3540037020] WIE2004
  7. Gutjahr P: cancer in children and adolescents. Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag Cologne 5th edition 2004 [ISBN: 3769104285] GUT2004

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Retinoblastoma Registry

(RB registry)

for all patients with newly diagnosed retinoblastoma and all children with newly diagnosed RB1 germline mutationMore


Treatment facilities specializing in childhood and adolescent cancer; Quality reports; You can find out more here


Malignant tumors in childhood

Information for children, teenagers and parents. To order or to download here