Background and purpose Intra-arterial chemotherapy for retinoblastoma has been adopted as a first-line treatment option by numerous tertiary centers. The effect of intra-arterial chemotherapy on future rates of metastatic disease as well as on globe salvage in advanced eyes remains relatively unknown.
Methods A search of PubMED, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science electronic databases was conducted from inception until January 2019 for studies with a minimum of 10 patients reporting outcomes and complications following intra-arterial chemotherapy for retinoblastoma.
Results A total of 20 studies met the inclusion criteria for analysis, comprising 873 patients and 1467 eyes. Only one study was comparative; there was substantial heterogeneity in reported outcomes and several overlapping patient cohorts that were published. Across all studies, 174 of 1467 eyes were enucleated (11.8%). Metastatic disease occurred in 8 of 513 patients (1.6%). Globe salvage was achieved in 318 of 906 (35.6%) cases of advanced retinoblastoma. The most common ocular complication was retinal detachment, occurring in 23% of eyes, and the most common systemic complications were transient fever and nausea/vomiting.
Conclusions There is a paucity of higher-level evidence with adequate follow-up surrounding the long-term safety of intra-arterial chemotherapy and effect on metastasis in retinoblastoma. Studies to date have been limited by short-term follow-up. Longitudinal prospective studies could provide greater insight into the ability of intra-arterial chemotherapy to reduce the risk of retinoblastoma metastasis.
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