Objective: To report the spectrum and frequency of melanocytic and nonmelanocytic conjunctival tumors in an ocular oncology practice.
Design: Retrospective noninterventional case series.
Participants: One thousand six hundred forty-three consecutive patients with a conjunctival mass evaluated at an ocular oncology department.
Methods: A chart review was conducted to obtain the clinical features of the patient and tumor and to tabulate and categorize the diagnoses.
Main outcome measures: Tumor diagnosis overall and relative to patient age, race, and gender and relative to tumor location and laterality.
Results: In 1643 consecutive patients, the tumor was classified as melanocytic in 872 cases (53%) and nonmelanocytic in 771 cases (47%). The nonmelanocytic categories included congenital choristomatous (n = 40 [2%]), epithelial (n = 219 [13%]), vascular (n = 63 [4%]), fibrous (n = 7 [<1%]), neural (n = 1 [<1%]), xanthomatous (n = 1 [<1%]), myxomatous (n = 1 [<1%]), lipomatous (n = 23 [1%]), lacrimal gland origin (n = 12 [<1%]), lymphoid (n = 128 [8%]), leukemic (n = 3 [<1%]), metastatic (n = 13 [<1%]), secondary (n = 54 [3%]) tumors, and non-neoplastic lesions simulating a tumor (n = 206 [13%]). Of the 872 melanocytic lesions, the specific tumor diagnosis was nevus in 454 cases (52%), melanoma in 215 (25%), and primary acquired melanosis in 180 (21%). Patients with choristomatous, vascular, fibrous, xanthomatous, and myxomatous tumors presented at a mean age of <40 years, and those with malignant epithelial, lipomatous, leukemic, and secondary tumors presented at a mean age of >60. Of the 219 patients with epithelial tumors, 80% occurred in males, whereas the incidence of melanocytic lesions was equal in males and females. African-American patients represented only 7% of epithelial tumors, <1% of melanomas, and 8% of lymphoid tumors.
Conclusion: Conjunctival tumors were of melanocytic origin in 53% of cases and nonmelanocytic origin in 47%. Overall, melanocytic tumors, epithelial tumors, and lymphoid tumors accounted for 74% of all cases. These tumors were far more common in Caucasian patients, and epithelial tumors were found more frequently in men.