To analyze the risk and benefit of high-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplantation (HDCT-SCT) treatment in patients with advanced retinoblastoma.
A comprehensive literature search from 4 online databases, including PubMed, Scopus, EBSCO, and Cochrane was done for original studies evaluating the use of HDCT followed by SCT in the treatment of patients with advanced retinoblastoma. The last search was performed on April 15, 2020.
A total of 35 studies consisting of 160 patients were considered suitable for inclusion. After HDCT-SCT treatment, 108/160 (67.5%) patients were alive with no evidence of disease at the last follow-up. The incidence of secondary malignancy in our data was also relatively low, which was 16/160 (10%) patients. The side effects were mainly hematological and gastrointestinal toxicities. The prognosis for metastatic cases especially the one to the central nervous system (CNS) remains poor, as shown in our data that 22 of 44 (50%) patients died due to the evidence of disease, and 12 of 44 (27%) patients acquired CNS relapse and died.
HDCT-SCT is a promising treatment option in patients with advanced retinoblastoma. The use of HDCT-SCT in CNS metastases needs to be carefully considered, possibly by adding thiotepa or topotecan to improve tumor control. Further randomized clinical trials are needed to draw firm conclusion regarding its safety and efficacy.