[Prognostic factors in malignant melanoma of the conjunctiva. An anatomo-clinical study of 56 patients]

J Fr Ophtalmol. 1999 Apr;22(3):315-21.
[Article in French]


We have reviewed a serie of 56 patients treated in our Institute for malignant melanoma of the conjunctiva between 1980 and 1992. We selected cases where histology had been reviewed.

Patients and method: The median follow up is 96 months. The age varies from 13 to 88 years with a mean age of 56 years. There were 22 men and 34 females. In 29 cases (51%) the melanoma appeared de novo, ten cases (17%) it derived from a naevus and in 14 cases (25%) on a precancerous melanosis. The tumour was localized at the limbus and bulbar conjunctiva in 57% of cases. The mean diameter was 6.1 mm and the mean thickness was 2.3 mm. The treatment consisted in surgical excision of the tumour followed by external beam radiothérapy in 49 cases. Histological examination showed invasion of the chorion in 44 cases (78%) and of the sclera in 6 cases (1%).

Results: 38 patients are alive and 29 without disease. 2 with disease, 7 lost follow-up. 18 patients died (32%) and among them 14 (25%) died of metastatic disease. 22 patients (39%) have presented local recurrence and among them 10 have had multiple recurrences. The mean delay for recurrence was 56 months. The overall survival was 77% at 5 years and 64% at 10 years. Tumours appeared de novo have a worse prognosis. If we consider the localization tumour located at the limbus or on bulbar conjunctiva have less metastasis.

Conclusion: Malignant melanoma of conjunctiva is a tumour that can frequently recur. Metastasis are not infrequent and follow up must be prolonged.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aftercare
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / mortality
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Treatment Outcome