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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 195-197

Retinoblastoma: A retrospective analysis of 141 patients from 1983 to 2013 at a tertiary care hospital in Nagpur, India

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, P.D. Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Radiation Therapy and Oncology, Government Medical College and Hospital, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication01-Aug-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rohit S Kabre
Department of Radiation Oncology, P.D. Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sajc.sajc_314_18

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Purpose: There is scarcity of data regarding clinical presentation and outcome of retinoblastoma patients in India. Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the clinical profile of retinoblastoma patients in a tertiary care hospital in India from 1983 to 2013. Subjects and Methods: A retrospective analysis of clinical records of 141 patients with retinoblastoma registered from 1983 to 2013 at Government Medical College, Nagpur, India, was conducted. Demographics, clinical features, modes of treatment, and outcome of the patients were assessed. Results: Majority of patients (81 [57.45%]) presented in the age group of 1–3 years and were males. One hundred and fourteen patients (80.85%) had unilateral disease, while rare presentations of trilateral/quadrilateral retinoblastoma were also noted. Proptosis was seen in 81 (57.45%) patients as presenting symptom. Eighty-nine patients (63.12%) had locally invasive disease-involving sites. Forty-four patients (31.19%) developed distant metastasis. Surgical management and external beam radiotherapy were followed in majority of patients. Trend of increased usage of chemotherapy was seen from the mid-1990s. One hundred and twelve patients (79.43%) died with the disease. Conclusions: Data from this study show late diagnosis, leading to poor outcome for patients with advanced retinoblastoma, which is in accordance with data from other developing countries. Even though management of patients changed in accordance with changing standard of care over the decade, mortality remained high.

Keywords: Advanced stage, changing trend, retinoblastoma

How to cite this article:
Kabre RS, Kamble KM. Retinoblastoma: A retrospective analysis of 141 patients from 1983 to 2013 at a tertiary care hospital in Nagpur, India. South Asian J Cancer 2019;8:195-7

How to cite this URL:
Kabre RS, Kamble KM. Retinoblastoma: A retrospective analysis of 141 patients from 1983 to 2013 at a tertiary care hospital in Nagpur, India. South Asian J Cancer [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Sep 22];8:195-7. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Retinoblastoma is the most frequent childhood intraocular tumor with a global incidence of 1:20,000 births.[1] Global incidence data for retinoblastoma show an approximate 50-fold variation, which is highly atypical for a pediatric tumor. Incidence of Retinoblastoma on a global scale is 11/ million children in 5 years and younger age group. In India, incidence rate stands at 0.6 cases per 100,000 children. Nagpur Cancer Registry reports a prevalence of 0.1/100,000 population. Management of retinoblastoma has changed during years with a survival rate of >95% in developed countries.[2],[3] However, in developing countries, cure rates of <50% are observed, primarily because of advanced disease at the time of diagnosis.[4],[5],[6] Data detailing the clinical presentation and treatment outcomes of retinoblastoma, especially in Indian settings, are scarce, and hence, this study was undertaken to assess the clinical profile of patients with retinoblastoma.

  Subjects and Methods Top

A retrospective cohort study was conducted by reviewing clinical records of all retinoblastoma patients (n = 141) registered from 1983 to 2013 at Government Medical College and Hospital, Nagpur, India. The Institutional Ethics Committee approval was obtained. The diagnosis of retinoblastoma was based on history and physical examination with complete ocular examination. Demographics, clinical presentation, follow-up examinations, and outcome of the patients were noted.

  Results Top

One hundred and sixty-two eyes in 141 patients were diagnosed with retinoblastoma. Numbers of patients recorded during the first decade (1982–1993), second decade (1994–2003), and third decade (2004–2013) were 72, 44, and 25, respectively. The mean follow-up of all patients was 112 days (0–791).

Clinical profile of the patients has been described in [Table 1]. [Figure 1] shows appreciable change in trends during the management of retinoblastoma patient over three decades.
Table 1: Demographics and clinical profile (n=141 patients)

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Figure 1: Trends in the management of retinoblastoma over the years. Data expressed in percentages. Over the years, an increase in chemotherapeutic approach as treatment of choice, slight decrease in surgical approach and sharp decrease in radiotherapy approach have been observed in the management of retinoblastoma

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  Discussion Top

Retinoblastoma is a rare disease of early childhood. Due to extremely low incidence, the features of retinoblastoma patients are not routinely assessed. In developing countries such as India, it is important to identify the clinical features on presentation and complications of these patients. Data from developed countries and urban treatment centers in India show leukocoria (white eye) as a leading presenting symptom (early diagnosis) along with excellent survival status with the highest level of quality of life. The present study shows data in sync with data from developing countries with respect to late diagnosis, advanced stage at presentation & poor outcomes/loss of follow up.[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] Presentation for late cases varies from proptosis to fungating mass with secondaries.[12] Presentation of proptosis in majority of cases can be attributed to the delay in seeking consultation by the patient.[13] Extraocular retinoblastoma is very rare in developed countries (2%–5%).[14] In developing nations, extraocular disease contributes to half of all retinoblastoma cases presenting to a tertiary care referral center, which is in accordance with the findings of this study.[15],[16]

Reese–Ellsworth grading, formulated in 1960, has been widely used to predict the outcome of retinoblastoma treated with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT); however, as chemotherapy gradually replaced radiotherapy, new staging system was developed to predict the outcome for eyes treated with chemotherapy and focal treatments, which were international intraocular retinoblastoma. Majority of cases presented in an advanced stage. These findings were in accordance with data from other developing nations.[7],[10],[11]

Surgical management and EBRT are considered standard treatment protocol for eyes with advanced stage. Resource deficiency, unavailability, and cost of drugs till 1990s precluded the use of chemotherapy in majority of patients in this study. However, with changing guidelines and availability of standard drugs, number of patients receiving chemotherapy increased appreciably, coinciding with decrease in patient being treated with surgery and EBRT, which has been observed in [Figure 1].

EBRT was the only alternative to enucleation until the mid-1990s and is still an option to treat large tumors.[17] Scarce supply of ketamine till 1990s as anesthetic agent used for immobilizing pediatric patients before radiation therapy session prompted use of hypofractionated RT, which enabled treatment to be completed in less duration. Dose prescribed in patients treated with radical intent was 36 gy/9 fractions in 2–3 weeks, which was equivalent to conventional 50 Gy/5 times per week fractionation.[18]

Treatment abandonment as well as loss to follow-up has also been reported from other developing countries,[10],[19],[20] which could be attributed to no response/progressive disease in an advanced stage, inability to accept enucleation as form of treatment, inability to cope up with frequency of follow-up, illiteracy, poverty, and negligence.

To unearth grim situation, specifically in India, as per one retinoblastoma world statistical analysis, China recorded 1095 retinoblastoma patients in 2013 in 28 established Retinoblastoma Treatment Centers (RTB), while Pakistan showed 312 patients in 6 RTBs, while in India, 1730 patients took treatment in 11 RTBs. Various approaches for improvement in the management of retinoblastoma in developing countries[19] have been summarized in [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Recommendations for improving management of retinoblastoma in developing countries

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  Conclusions Top

Data from this study show late diagnosis, leading to poor outcome for patients with advanced retinoblastoma, which is in accordance with data from other developing countries. Even though management of patients changed in accordance with changing standard of care over the decade, mortality remained high. Inequality in patient access to health care is the reality in India. This study underlines this well-known fact and brings forth strategies which can lead to improvement of this scenario.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Kayembe L. Retinoblastoma: 21-year review. J Fr Ophtalmol 1986;9:561-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
Bekibele CO, Ayede AI, Asaolu OO, Brown BJ. Retinoblastoma: The challenges of management in Ibadan, Nigeria. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2009;31:552-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
Kivelä T. Trilateral retinoblastoma: A meta-analysis of hereditary retinoblastoma associated with primary ectopic intracranial retinoblastoma. J Clin Oncol 1999;17:1829-37.  Back to cited text no. 11
Du W, Pogoriler J. Retinoblastoma family genes. Oncogene 2006;25:5190-200.  Back to cited text no. 12
Antoneli CB, Steinhorst F, Ribeiro Kde C, Chojniak MM, Novaes PE, Arias V, et al. The pediatrician's ability to recognize the presenting signs and symptoms of retinoblastoma. Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992) 2004;50:400-2.  Back to cited text no. 13
Jubran RF, Erdreich-Epstein A, Butturini A, Murphree AL, Villablanca JG. Approaches to treatment for extraocular retinoblastoma: Children's hospital Los Angeles experience. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2004;26:31-4.  Back to cited text no. 14
Kanski JJ 2nd. Clinical Ophthalmology – A Systematic Approach. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinmann; 1992. p. 401-5.  Back to cited text no. 15
Bakhshi S, Bakhshi R. Genetics and management of retinoblastoma. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2007;12:109-11.  Back to cited text no. 16
  [Full text]  
Abramson DH, Beaverson KL, Chang ST, Dunkel IJ, McCormick B. Outcome following initial external beam radiotherapy in patients with Reese-Ellsworth group Vb retinoblastoma. Arch Ophthalmol 2004;122:1316-23.  Back to cited text no. 17
Fletcher GH 3rd. Textbook of Radiotherapy. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger; 1980. p. 504.  Back to cited text no. 18
Ali AA, Elsheikh SM, Elhaj A, Osman N, Abuidris D, Eltayeb EA, et al. Clinical presentation and outcome of retinoblastoma among children treated at the national cancer institute (NCI) in Gezira, Sudan: A single institution experience. Ophthalmic Genet 2011;32:122-5.  Back to cited text no. 19
Mukhtar AU, Kagame K. Pathological study of retinoblastoma in Mbarara, Uganda. Cent Afr J Med 2000;46:13-6.  Back to cited text no. 20


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1]


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