Whole body positron emission tomography/computed tomography staging of metastatic choroidal melanoma

Am J Ophthalmol. 2005 Aug;140(2):193-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2005.02.051.


Purpose: To evaluate whole-body positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography in staging of patients with metastatic choroidal melanoma.

Design: Interventional non-randomized clinical study.

Methods: Twenty patients were referred for whole-body 18-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) PET/computed tomography imaging because of suspected metastatic choroidal melanoma. PET/computed tomography images were studied for the presence and distribution of metastatic melanoma. Subsequent biopsies were performed to confirm the presence of metastatic disease.

Results: Twenty patients underwent PET/computed tomography. Eighteen were imaged because of abnormal clinical, hematologic, or radiographic screening studies during the course of their follow-up after plaque brachytherapy or enucleation. Two were imaged before treatment of their primary tumor. PET/computed tomography revealed or confirmed metastatic melanoma in eight (40%) of these 20 patients. The mean time from initial diagnosis to metastasis was 47 months (range 0 to 154). The most common sites for metastases were the liver (100%), bone (50%), lung (25%), lymph nodes (25%), and subcutaneous tissue (25%). Cardiac, brain, thyroid, and posterior abdominal wall lesions (12.5%) were also noted. Six patients (75%) had multiple organ involvement. No false positives were noted. PET/computed tomography imaging also detected benign lesions of the bone and lymph nodes in three patients (15%). All patients had hepatic metastases and liver enzyme assays were abnormal in only one (12.5%) of eight patients.

Conclusions: PET/computed tomography imaging is a sensitive tool for the detection and localization of hepatic and extra-hepatic (particularly osseous) metastatic choroidal melanoma.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Choroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Choroid Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Melanoma / secondary*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Whole-Body Counting / methods*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18