"From our work, we were able to create the first quantitative scale of leukocoria by which to evaluate the intensity of retinoblastoma-linked leukocoria," Shaw said in a Baylor press release. "We were able to determine that the frequency of leukocoria can correlate with the clinical severity of retinoblastoma. Leukocoria can emerge in low frequency in early-stage retinoblastoma and increase in frequency during disease progression and decrease during disease remission."
Shaw and co-author Shizuo Mukai M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric retina specialist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear were able to deduce that leukocoria is often occurring in young children long before parents may notice it on their own because it initially occurs infrequently as the tumors are small in size and number.
Mukai suggests that although leukocoria is the most common presenting sign of retinoblastoma occurring in 50% of new patients, it may go undetected until the tumor is of significant size. With these findings, however, Shaw and Mukai hope to lay the groundwork for creating software that automatically alerts unsuspecting parents to the emergence of recurrent leukocoria and ultimately eradicates metastatic retinoblastoma.
View the press release.
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