Feasibility of Proton Beam Therapy as a Rescue Therapy in Heavily Pre-Treated Retinoblastoma Eyes

Despite the increased risk of subsequent primary tumors (SPTs) external beam radiation (EBRT) may be the only therapeutic option to preserve a retinoblastoma eye. Due to their physical properties, proton beam therapy (PBT) offers the possibility to use the effectiveness of EBRT in tumor treatment and to decisively reduce the treatment-related morbidity. We report our experiences of PBT as rescue therapy in a retrospectively studied cohort of 15 advanced retinoblastoma eyes as final option for eye-preserving therapy. The average age at the initiation of PBT was 35 (14-97) months, mean follow-up was 22 (2-46) months. Prior to PBT, all eyes were treated with systemic chemotherapy and a mean number of 7.1 additional treatments. Indication for PBT was non-feasibility of intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC) in 10 eyes, tumor recurrence after IAC in another 3 eyes and diffuse infiltrating retinoblastoma in 2 eyes. Six eyes (40%) were enucleated after a mean time interval of 4.8 (1-8) months. Cataract formation was the most common complication affecting 44.4% of the preserved eyes, yet 77.8% achieved a visual acuity of >20/200. Two of the 15 children treated developed metastatic disease during follow-up, resulting in a 13.3% metastasis rate. PBT is a useful treatment modality as a rescue therapy in retinoblastoma eyes with an eye-preserving rate of 60%. As patients are at lifetime risk of SPTs consistent monitoring is mandatory.

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