Disease Information

Solid Tumor: Retinoblastoma

Alternate Names: No other names used

What is retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is a rare cancer of the retina, the thin membrane on the inside back of the eye that is stimulated by light. Retinoblastoma is usually diagnosed before a child reaches the age of 3.

Retinoblastoma can be hereditary (passed down in families) or non-hereditary.

Untreated, retinoblastoma can spread widely:


How common is retinoblastoma?


What are the symptoms of retinoblastoma?

Symptoms of retinoblastoma may include:


How is retinoblastoma treated?

Treatment of retinoblastoma depends on whether:

Treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, focal therapy and radiation therapy.

When the tumor has spread into the tissues surrounding the eye or the eye socket, the patient is treated with chemotherapy after surgery.

Chemotherapy alone cannot cure retinoblastoma, so patients often receive “focal therapy.”

Very rarely the tumor invades the brain or spreads to the bones or bone marrow. These patients require more intensive chemo, usually including a stem cell transplant.

Sometimes only radiation therapy, the strongest treatment for fighting retinoblastoma, helps maintain vision and prevent the spread of the cancer.

A very young child with multiple tumors or retinoblastoma in both eyes is likely to keep developing retinoblastoma tumors until 3 years of age. So, treatment might be less aggressive until age 3:


What are the survival rates for retinoblastoma?


Why choose St. Jude for your child’s retinoblastoma treatment?

The St. Jude Web site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through this site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.