Object: The purpose of this study was to analyze treatment results, radiation-induced side effects, and prognostic survival factors for patients with uveal melanoma.
Methods: Eighty-one patients with uveal melanoma were treated using the Leksell gamma knife during a period of 6 years (1996-2001). There were 45 men and 36 women with a median age of 59 years (range 22-85 years). Seventy-five of these patients underwent minimal follow up 10 months after treatment. After patient eye immobilization, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed to enable stereotactic localization. A scoring system was used to measure radiation side effects. The median target volume was 640 mm3, and the median applied minimal dose was 31.4 Gy. All patients were examined by an ophthalmologist and with MR imaging at regular intervals. Factors influencing posttreatment survival and side effects were statistically analyzed.
Conclusions: Local tumor control in the 75 patients who underwent minimal follow up after 10 months was achieved in 63 patients (84%), whereas progression was observed in 12 patients (16%). The most frequent side effect was secondary glaucoma, which was detected in 18 patients (25%). The incidence of this side effect was significantly higher when the total volume of peripheral isodose was greater than 1000 mm3 (p = 0.015). Toxicity in the optic nerve here was also significantly higher when the maximum dose to this structure was higher than 9 Gy (p = 0.011), in the cornea when the maximum dose was higher than 15 Gy (p = 0.010), and in the lens when the maximum dose was higher than 10 Gy (p = 0.035). Altogether three pretreatment variables (patient age, tumor location, and dissemination of the disease) and one treatment variable (the minimum dose applied) were identified as having a significant influence on a patient's survival.