Objective: To investigate in a large global sample of patients with retinoblastoma whether sex predilection exists for this childhood eye cancer. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis including 4351 treatment-naive retinoblastoma patients from 153 countries who presented to 278 treatment centers across the world in 2017. The sex ratio (male/female) in the sample was compared to the sex ratio at birth by means of a two-sided proportions test at global level, country economic grouping, continent, and for selected countries. Results: For the entire sample, the mean retinoblastoma sex ratio, 1.20, was higher than the weighted global sex ratio at birth, 1.07 (p < 0.001). Analysis at economic grouping, continent, and country-level demonstrated differences in the sex ratio in the sample compared to the ratio at birth in lower-middle-income countries (n = 1940), 1.23 vs. 1.07 (p = 0.019); Asia (n = 2276), 1.28 vs. 1.06 (p < 0.001); and India (n = 558), 1.52 vs. 1.11 (p = 0.008). Sensitivity analysis, excluding data from India, showed that differences remained significant for the remaining sample (χ2 = 6.925, corrected p = 0.025) and for Asia (χ2 = 5.084, corrected p = 0.036). Excluding data from Asia, differences for the remaining sample were nonsignificant (χ2 = 2.205, p = 0.14). Conclusions: No proof of sex predilection in retinoblastoma was found in the present study, which is estimated to include over half of new retinoblastoma patients worldwide in 2017. A high male to female ratio in Asian countries, India in specific, which may have had an impact on global-level analysis, is likely due to gender discrimination in access to care in these countries, rather than a biological difference between sexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1571-1577
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


FundersFunder number
National Cancer InstituteK08CA232344
Wellcome Trust207472/Z/17/Z


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