Neoplasm Death Rates High for Retinoblastoma Survivors

With the hereditary form of the disease, cumulative mortality exceeded 25 percent after 50 years

FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- People who have had retinoblastoma, especially the hereditary form of the disease, have a high risk of dying from subsequent malignant neoplasm, according to a study reported April 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Chu-Ling Yu, of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues reviewed mortality data on 1,854 survivors of both hereditary and nonhereditary retinoblastoma diagnosed from 1914 to 1996. The researchers calculated standardized mortality ratios and cumulative death rates from malignant neoplasm subsequent to treatment for retinoblastoma.

Overall, there were 151 deaths from malignant neoplasms among the 1,092 people diagnosed with hereditary retinoblastoma and 12 deaths among the 762 people diagnosed with nonhereditary retinoblastoma. Increased mortality from malignant neoplasm extended beyond 40 years and included melanomas, sarcomas, brain cancers, and cancers of the nervous system among the people with hereditary retinoblastoma. At 50 years from retinoblastoma diagnosis, the cumulative mortality from neoplasm was 25.5 percent in the hereditary group and 1.0 percent in the nonhereditary group. In both the hereditary and nonhereditary groups, the mortality rate from subsequent neoplasm was higher among people treated with radiotherapy.

"The temporal patterns of site-specific excess risks of subsequent malignant neoplasms in retinoblastoma survivors should inform screening programs designed for the early detection and treatment of subsequent malignant neoplasms," the authors write.

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