Palladium-103 plaque radiotherapy for choroidal melanoma: an 11-year study

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002 Dec 1;54(5):1438-45. doi: 10.1016/s0360-3016(02)03751-3.


Purpose: To describe 11 years of experience with 103Pd ophthalmic plaque brachytherapy for intraocular melanoma.

Methods and materials: Since 1990, 152 patients have been diagnosed with uveal melanoma, found to be negative for metastatic disease, and treated with 103Pd radioactive plaque radiotherapy. This study presents the first 100 patients treated with 103Pd and followed for > or = 2 years. Plaques were sewn to the episclera to cover the base of the intraocular tumor. Treatment involved delivery of a mean apical radiation dose of 80.5 Gy during 5-7 days' continuous treatment. Patients were evaluated for local tumor control, visual acuity, radiation damage (retinopathy, optic neuropathy, cataract), and metastatic disease.

Results: Patients in this series were followed for a mean of 4.6 years (55.4 months). 103Pd seeds were found to be equivalent to 125I with respect to plaque manufacture and ease of dosimetric calculations. We noted a local control rate of 96% and six secondary enucleations. Including the enucleated patients, the visual acuity evaluations revealed that 35% lost six or more lines of vision and 73% had vision of 20/200 or better.

Conclusion: Long-term results now exist describing the use of 103Pd plaque radiotherapy for uveal (iris, ciliary body, and choroidal) melanoma. Compared with the results from centers using 125I, patients in this series experienced equivalent local control rates and better visual function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Choroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Eye Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / radiotherapy*
  • Palladium / therapeutic use*
  • Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors
  • Vision, Ocular / radiation effects*


  • Radioisotopes
  • Palladium