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Improved therapy for retinoblastoma patients

The addition of topotecan to a multi-drug chemotherapy helped to maintain high cure rates for the devastating eye cancer and helped preserve vision and reduced the likelihood of developing treatment-related leukemia. Results of the 10-year follow-up study were recently published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Retinoblastoma is an eye cancer that occurs in young children with most being under the age of two. While the current therapy has a cure rate that exceeds 95 percent, one of the drugs in the therapy, etoposide, leaves survivors with a risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia. Researchers sought find a safer therapy. Initially using mice, researchers were able to confirm that topotecan was an effective replacement for etoposide and this success led to a prospective clinical trial in 26 newly diagnosed patients. The study patients were treated with the new combination of vincristine, topotecan and carboplatin. Researchers found that this new therapy was more successful than the current therapy in stopping the progression of the disease and also allowed patients a greater chance of having useful vision.

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