Retinoblastoma, the visible CNS tumor: A review

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The pediatric ocular cancer retinoblastoma is the only central nervous system (CNS) tumor readily observed without specialized equipment: it can be seen by, and in, the naked eye. This accessibility enables unique imaging modalities. Here, we review this cancer for a neuroscience audience, highlighting these clinical and research imaging options, including fundus imaging, optical coherence tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging. We also discuss the subtype of retinoblastoma driven by the MYCN oncogene more commonly associated with neuroblastoma, and consider trilateral retinoblastoma, in which an intracranial tumor arises along with ocular tumors in patients with germline RB1 gene mutations. Retinoblastoma research and clinical care can offer insights applicable to CNS malignancies, and also benefit from approaches developed elsewhere in the CNS.

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