PURPOSE: To assess potential retinal viability by electroretinography following selective ophthalmic artery chemotherapy infusion for retinoblastoma. METHODS: Uncontrolled prospective case series. Patients with advanced retinoblastoma were offered elective ophthalmic artery chemotherapy infusion treatment under an IRB-approved protocol as an alternative to enucleation. The ophthalmic artery was cannulated under fluoroscopic control, and chemotherapeutic agents (melphalan and occasionally carboplatin) were directly infused at doses resulting in very high local tissue concentrations, but low systemic drug levels. Eyes were examined under anesthesia at 1-month intervals, and re-treated as indicated, up to a maximum of six infusions. Electroretinograms were obtained during examination under anesthesia, using ERG-jet contact lens electrodes and a hand-held mini-ganzfeld stimulator. The ERG protocol was similar to ISCEV standards except for briefer adaptation times as necessary to reduce the total anesthesia duration. RESULTS: We report initial results in the first ten patients attempted. Nine eyes were successfully cannulated and perfused. ERG data for these nine patients are reported. [Clinical results have been published elsewhere.] Follow up ranged from 3 to 14 months. Extensive, often total, retinal detachments were present in many of the treated eyes. While regression of tumor mass and vitreous seeds was observed in nearly all the patients, retinal detachment occasionally persisted. ERG responses were extinguished in these eyes. Eyes with largely attached retinas, notwithstanding the presence of large tumors at baseline, remained free of detachment after treatment. Normal or near-normal ERGs in these eyes were repeatedly obtained. Recovery of ERG amplitudes was observed in three patients following treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Retinal function can persist and even recover following selective ophthalmic artery chemotherapy infusion for retinoblastoma. Further work is indicated to determine optimal dosing regimens, maximal tolerated dosage, and subsequent visual function in these patients.
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