Improved survival rates in sebaceous carcinoma of the eyelid

Eye (Lond). 2004 Jan;18(1):49-53. doi: 10.1038/sj.eye.6700523.


Purpose: To review the clinicopathological features, management, and survival rates for patients with sebaceous gland carcinoma of the eyelid, and to analyse the reasons for improved survival.

Methods: In the west of Scotland between 1975 and 2001, 32 cases were identified through the pathology index for sebaceous carcinoma. Pathology specimens were reviewed in all cases. The clinical data were obtained from hospital records and the database provided by the Regional Cancer Registry.

Results: A total of 22 female and 10 male patients were identified. Follow-up ranged from 6 months to 15 years, median of 4.8 years. Primary treatment involved excisional techniques in 27 cases, exenteration in two cases, enucleation in two cases, and two cases required adjuvant radiotherapy. Intraepithelial spread and masquerade presentations delayed the diagnosis. Poorly differentiated tumours were associated with an unfavourable outcome. Three patients developed local tumour recurrence and one metastatic disease. In all, 10 patients died from nontumour-related causes and one died from metastatic sebaceous carcinoma. The overall tumour mortality rate in the west of Scotland was 3%.

Conclusions: From this study, patients in the west of Scotland have a better prognosis than is indicated in the literature. Astute clinical suspicion and accurate histopathological diagnosis, together with radical and aggressive surgical approaches were key factors.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Sebaceous / mortality*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Sebaceous / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma, Sebaceous / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Survival Rate