Intraocular metastases: differential diagnosis from uveal melanomas with high-resolution MRI using a surface coil

Eur Radiol. 2001;11(12):2593-601. doi: 10.1007/s003300100936.


Magnetic resonance imaging with dedicated surface coils plays a pivotal role in differential diagnosis and staging of intraocular tumors. The purpose of this study was to establish MRI criteria for the differential diagnosis of uveal melanomas and intraocular metastases. In a prospective study 44 eyes in 36 patients with intraocular metastases and 200 patients with uveal melanomas were investigated with MRI using a 1.5-T scanner and a 5-cm surface coil. Both quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the resulting images was performed. The MR signal intensities typically expected for metastases (slightly hyperintense on non-contrast T1-weighted images and hypointense on T2-weighted images compared to the vitreous body) were seen in only 23.1%. The typical melanoma signal of either moderate or strong hyperintensity on T1-weighted images and hypointensity on T2-weighted images was seen in 69.4% of the proven melanomas. Contrast enhancement was observed in both metastases and melanomas. Morphological differences between metastases and melanomas were detected in tumor size, shape, position, frequency of retinal detachment, and homogeneity of the tumor. Differentiation between intraocular metastases and uveal melanoma is limited by overlap of signal intensities. Some improvement is achieved with morphologic criteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / instrumentation*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Uvea / pathology
  • Uveal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uveal Neoplasms / secondary*