Feasibility and results of an intraarterial chemotherapy program for the conservative treatment of retinoblastoma in Argentina

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The feasibility and results of intraarterial chemotherapy, also termed ophthalmic artery chemosurgery (OAC), for retinoblastoma in less developed countries have seldom been reported.


A retrospective evaluation of a program of OAC in Argentina from 2010 to 2015.


Ninety-seven eyes from 81 patients (61 bilateral) were analyzed. In 35 eyes, OAC was given as primary therapy and in 62 it was used for the treatment of tumors with partial response or those relapsing after systemic chemoreduction with focal therapy or external-beam radiotherapy. Twenty-two primarily treated eyes had group D and 13 groups B/C. A total of 400 procedures were carried out. Chemotherapy used included combinations of melphalan, carboplatin, and topotecan. There was no mortality associated with OAC. Toxicity included fever and neutropenia in five (1.25%), hypotension and bradycardia during anesthesia in two and femoral thrombosis in one, eyelid edema in nine, and neutropenia or thrombocytopenia in 28 cycles. With a median follow-up of 48.7 months (range 12–79), the 3-year probability of event-free survival (pEFS) (enucleation and/or radiotherapy were considered events) was comparable for patients who received first-line therapy and those treated at relapse (0.65 vs. 0.63, P = 0.5). In the former, the pEFS was 0.91 and 0.43 for groups B/C and D, respectively (P = 0.01). Two patients died of extraocular dissemination after refusal of enucleation.


OAC was feasible with low toxicity. pEFS improved in all groups compared to the previous experience with systemic chemotherapy reducing the use of radiotherapy. The overall mortality associated with OAC is comparable to our previous experience with systemic chemoreduction.

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