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How do hereditary and non-hereditary retinoblastoma differ?

In hereditary (germinal) retinoblastoma, the RB1 gene is completely mutated from the beginning of the organism's life. The defective DNA occurs in all cells of the body.

In non-hereditary cases, mutations take place at some point early in life and originate when the cells copy themselves.

Thus, only in the hereditary case is the whole genome mutated; for the rest of cases, it may just be the defective genetic material of the cancer cells. As a consequence, hereditary retinoblastoma implies a substantially increased chance of having other cancers later on. It also causes symptoms a year or two earlier.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.