Cincinnati Children’s is a national leader in providing sophisticated, multidisciplinary care for retinoblastoma in children. Our Retinoblastoma Program within the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute builds upon the medical center’s well-established programs in cancer treatment, ophthalmic care and radiology. Every member of our care team is committed to treating retinoblastoma in infants effectively and, if possible, saving the child’s eye and helping to maintain his or her quality of life.

The Retinoblastoma Program is a joint effort of Cincinnati Children’s and the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati. It is at the forefront of providing innovative therapies for retinoblastoma in infants and patients with:

  • Newly diagnosed and advanced unilateral intra-ocular retinoblastoma (tumor in one eye) 
  • Newly diagnosed and advanced bilateral intra-ocular retinoblastoma (tumor in both eyes) 
  • Extra-ocular retinoblastoma (tumor that has spread beyond the eye) 
  • Recurrent / refractory intra-ocular retinoblastoma (tumor that is resistant to treatment)

We offer extensive treatment options, such as surgery, front-line chemotherapy and radiation therapy, sometimes in combination with other sophisticated procedures. In addition, Cincinnati Children’s is one of only a few facilities in the United States to offer transcatheter selective intraophthalmic-artery chemotherapy. This involves delivering chemotherapy drugs to the arteries behind the eye, rather than injecting them into the bloodstream. This approach has been found to treat the cancer effectively while limiting side effects.

Leadership for the Retinoblastoma Program is provided by James I. Geller, MD, and James Augsburger, MD, both of whom are actively involved in patient care and clinical research.

Specialists in the program work as a team to provide an accurate diagnosis and sophisticated, thoughtful treatment. The team is led by an oncologist and ophthalmologist and includes experts specializing in:

By bringing together experts in different areas, our multidisciplinary team makes clinic visits more efficient for families and ensures coordinated care.

New patients undergo a comprehensive evaluation in our clinic. Our team develops a detailed assessment and treatment recommendations. We provide referring physicians with regular updates to keep them informed about the child’s progress.

Genetic Counseling

About half of all children diagnosed with retinoblastoma develop it in both eyes. In such situations, the cause is a genetic mutation, which can be detected through genetic tests. When a child tests positive for this mutation, the care team can perform follow-up tests to detect and treat the cancer in its earliest stages.

In the Retinoblastoma Program, a genetic counselor meets with each family to talk about the risks and benefits of genetic testing, and when desired, testing is performed. This can help parents better understand their child’s condition and prognosis, as well as their risk of passing it on to other children.  

Nursing Excellence

Nurses play an integral role on our multidisciplinary team, providing patient care and extensive education. Cincinnati Children’s is known for nursing excellence. In 2018, the medical center again received Magnet status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Only about 8 percent of U.S. hospitals have achieved this status from the Magnet Recognition Program.