Whole body PET/CT for initial staging of choroidal melanoma

Br J Ophthalmol. 2005 Oct;89(10):1270-4. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2005.069823.


Aim: To investigate the value of whole body positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in screening for metastatic choroidal melanoma in patients initially diagnosed with choroidal melanoma.

Methods: 52 patients with choroidal melanoma underwent whole body PET/CT as part of their metastatic investigation. PET/CT scans were used as a screening tool at the time of their initial diagnosis. A physical examination, liver function tests, and a baseline chest x ray were also obtained. PET/CT images (utilising intravenous18-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG)) were studied for the presence of metastatic melanoma. The standards for reference were further imaging and/or subsequent biopsies.

Results: Two of 52 (3.8%) patients were found to have metastatic melanoma before treatment. The most common sites for metastases were the liver (100%), bone (50%), and lymph nodes (50%). Brain involvement was also present in one patient. One patient (50%) had involvement of multiple sites. Haematological liver enzyme assays were normal in both patients. PET/CT showed false positive results in three patients (5.7%) when further evaluated by histopathology and/or additional imaging. In seven patients (13.4%) PET/CT imaging detected benign lesions in the bone, lung, lymph nodes, colon, and rectum.

Conclusion: PET/CT imaging can be used as a screening tool for the detection and localisation of metastatic choroidal melanoma. Liver enzyme assays did not identify liver metastases, while PET/CT revealed both hepatic and extrahepatic metastatic melanoma. PET/CT imaging may improve upon the conventional methods of screening for detection of metastatic disease in patients initially diagnosed with choroidal melanoma.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

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


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18