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Retinoblastoma Treatment Outcome

KKH is the main referral centre for treatment of retinoblastoma (most common eye cancer in children) in Singapore. We are one of the centres participating in an International Retinoblastoma Trial using chemotherapy to treat retinoblastoma.

The Department of Ophthalmology manages an average of 7-8 new cases per year, half of which are foreigners/non-residents. Two-thirds of these new cases are advanced eye cancers confined to only one eye. The standard treatment is enucleation (removal of eye) and replacement with orbital implant and prosthetic (false) eye. The cure rate with this procedure when the cancer is confined to the eye is 100%, with no major surgical complications. We have a specialist dental surgeon who makes prosthetic eyes which produce good cosmetic results.

One-third of cases involve 2 eyes. We are able to save at least one eye and cure the eye cancer with chemotherapy and laser or cryopexy (deep freeze) treatment. Treatment failures are very rare, involving only those children with very advanced cancers that have spread to the brain.

The graph below shows data accrued from 2007 to 2009 with a total of 23 new cases of retinoblastoma.

Figure 1: New Retinoblastoma cases at KKH, 2007 to 2009

CasesLaterality of InvolvementTreatment Type Treatment Outcome
2/3One EyeEnucleation100% Cure
1/3Both EyesChemotherapy + Laser CryopexyAt least one eye is saved

Table 1: Retinoblastoma Treatment Outcome