• aqueous humour;
  • melphalan;
  • neovascular glaucoma;
  • retinoblastoma


Background:  To investigate aqueous humour protein composition from retinoblastoma patients.

Design:  Prospective, hospital-based study.

Participants:  Eighteen retinoblastoma patients (Reese–Ellsworth stage V or ABC classification group E RB) undergoing ocular enucleation, and 10 normal subjects undergoing cataract surgery. Five of 18 patients presented with associated secondary glaucoma whereas 13 had no secondary glaucoma; 5 of 13 patients with no secondary glaucoma received chemotherapeutical treatment with melphalan.

Methods:  Aqueous humour samples were collected by limbal paracentesis of the anterior chamber after ocular enucleation in patients and after the stab peripheral corneal incision in controls. Total protein concentration according to Bradford method and sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the samples were performed.

Main Outcome Measure:  Aqueous humour protein concentration.

Results:  Aqueous humour protein concentration was significantly higher in retinoblastoma patients than controls (P < 0.01); patients with secondary glaucoma presented the highest values (P < 0.05 vs. controls); patients treated with melphalan presented a significant decrease (P < 0.01) versus non-treated; controls did not significantly differ from treated patients. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis pattern in retinoblastoma patients who did not receive any treatment was very different either from treated or from controls.

Conclusion:  This study represents a preliminary step towards a more accurate two dimensional electrophoresis (2DE) pattern, which will be combined with mass spectrometry analysis to clarify the potential role of specific proteins in tumour development and progression; although these results suggest that aqueous humour protein pattern in retinoblastoma is characteristic, several aspects of the study are still under investigation.