Purpose: This study assesses differences in relative tumour regression and internal acoustic reflectivity after 3 methods of radiotherapy for uveal melanoma: (1) brachytherapy with ruthenium-106 radioactive plaques (RU), (2) fractionated high-dose gamma knife stereotactic irradiation in 2-3 fractions (GK) or (3) fractionated linear-accelerator-based stereotactic teletherapy in 5 fractions (Linac).
Methods: Ultrasound measurements of tumour thickness and internal reflectivity were performed with standardised A scan pre-operatively and 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months postoperatively. Of 211 patients included in the study, 111 had a complete 3-year follow-up (RU: 41, GK: 37, Linac: 33). Differences in tumour thickness and internal reflectivity were assessed with analysis of variance, and post hoc multiple comparisons were calculated with Tukey's honestly significant difference test.
Results: Local tumour control was excellent with all 3 methods (>93%). At 36 months, relative tumour height reduction was 69, 50 and 30% after RU, GK and Linac, respectively. In all 3 treatment groups, internal reflectivity increased from about 30% initially to 60-70% 3 years after treatment.
Conclusion: Brachytherapy with ruthenium-106 plaques results in a faster tumour regression as compared to teletherapy with gamma knife or Linac. Internal reflectivity increases comparably in all 3 groups. Besides tumour growth arrest, increasing internal reflectivity is considered as an important factor indicating successful treatment.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel