Introduction: Retinoblastoma is one of the most common malignant tumors of childhood in Africa. However, very few studies on this disease have been published, particularly in French speaking countries in Africa.
Patients and methods: Prospective study over a period of 30 months from 1 January 2005 to 30 June 2007 on all cases of retinoblastoma diagnosed and treated in the Paediatric Oncology Unit of Gabriel Touré Hospital in Bamako, Mali.
Results: During the study period, 55 cases of retinoblastoma were treated, which represent 33.1 % of all the solid tumors, coming second after lymphomas (39.7 %). The mean patient age was 4.2 years. Male sex was the most affected with 1.2 sex –ratio. 49 mothers (89.1 %) and 46 fathers (83. 6%) had no formal education. 37 children (67.3 %) were from rural areas. Unilateral cases were predominant (49 cases or 89.1%. Exophthalmia was the leading symptom (30 cases or 54.5 %). The survival rate at 30 months was 56 % with 18 % of lost of follow-up.
Conclusion: The mortality associated to Retinoblastoma remains high in our regions because diagnosis is always late and it is difficult to follow-up the patients.
Education and raising the awareness of both population and health workers would improve the survival rate of patients with retinoblastoma in Africa.