To evaluate the safety and efficacy of intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC) for the primary or secondary treatment of infants diagnosed with advanced retinoblastoma before 3 months of age.
This single-center retrospective study included 39 infants (42 eyes) aged ≤3 months who were diagnosed with unilateral or bilateral advanced intraocular retinoblastoma (group D and E eyes) and received IAC as primary or secondary treatment between June 2012 and February 2017. Based on each patient’s therapeutic history and response to chemotherapeutic drugs, melphalan, topotecan, and/or carboplatin were used for IAC. The main outcomes included the technical success rate for IAC, survival rates, and adverse events.
In total, 29 and 13 eyes received IAC as primary and secondary treatments, respectively. Catheterization was successful in 136 of 137 procedures. All eyes in the secondary IAC group had previously received intravenous chemotherapy. The mean number of IAC sessions for each eye was 3 (range, 2–6). The 2-year ocular survival rates were 80.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 58.9–91.7) in the primary IAC group and 91.7% (95% CI, 53.9–98.8) in the secondary IAC group. During the follow-up period, 1 patient with unilateral disease (group E) developed extraocular disease and died. The 2-year recurrence-free survival rates in the primary and secondary IAC groups were 71.9% (95% CI, 49.4–85.7) and 75.0% (95% CI, 40.8–91.2), respectively. During each catheterization procedure, the main complications included eyelid erythema (2.4%), fundus hemorrhage (11.9%), myelosuppression (7.7%), transient vomiting and hair loss (2.6%), and transient pancytopenia (2.6%). Prolonged complications included phthisis bulbi (19.0%), vision loss (19.0%), poor vision (9.5%), and cataract (2.4%). There was no case of stroke, neurological impairment, secondary malignant tumor, or metastasis.
Our findings suggest that IAC, whether primary or secondary, is effective and fairly safe for the management of advanced retinoblastoma in infants aged < 3 months. However, adverse events related to intra-arterial injection and the visual outcomes cannot be neglected and require further investigation.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.