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.