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Retinoblastoma: treatment and survival in Great Britain 1963 to 2002
  1. A MacCarthy1,
  2. J M Birch2,
  3. G J Draper1,
  4. J L Hungerford3,
  5. J E Kingston3,
  6. M E Kroll1,
  7. C A Stiller1,
  8. T J Vincent1,
  9. M F G Murphy1
  1. 1
    Childhood Cancer Research Group, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2
    Cancer Research UK, Paediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester, UK
  3. 3
    Retinoblastoma Service, Barts and the London NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Ms A MacCarthy, Childhood Cancer Research Group, University of Oxford, 57 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HJ, UK; angela.maccarthy{at}


Aim: This paper describes the treatment and survival of 1576 children with retinoblastoma in Great Britain diagnosed 1963–2002.

Methods: Survival rates were analysed according to period of diagnosis and tumour laterality.

Results: Survival was calculated by calendar period of diagnosis, 1963–1982 and 1983–2002. For both unilateral and bilateral retinoblastoma, survival improved between the two periods. The survival curves for the two periods were significantly different: for unilateral retinoblastoma p<0.00001, for bilateral p<0.01.

For unilateral cases, the estimated 5-year survival rates rose from 85% for those diagnosed in 1963–1967 to 97% for those diagnosed in 1998–2002. The equivalent rates for bilateral cases were 88% and 100%.

Conclusion: Survival rates were already high at the start of the study period. They increased with changes in treatment regimens.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: The Childhood Cancer Research Group receives Core Programme funding from the Department of Health and the Scottish Ministers. The funding agencies had no role in the design, conduct, reporting or decision to publish the study. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Health and the Scottish Ministers. We are grateful to the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust for financial support for Childhood Cancer Research Group retinoblastoma studies.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was provided by the Oxfordshire Research Ethics Committee.

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