Purpose: To evaluate transpupillary thermotherapy (TTT) for the treatment of small uveal melanomas of the posterior pole.
Design: Prospective, nonrandomized interventional case series.
Methods: Eighteen patients underwent TTT for small uveal melanomas located in the posterior pole of the eyes. Tumors were between 2.5 and 4 mm in thickness. TTT was performed with a diode laser at 810 nm. Patients had between one and three TTT sessions, with an intensity adapted to the coloration of the fundus impact. Biomicroscopic examination, ultrasonographic measurements, and angiography were performed before and two months, four months, and six months after treatment, then regularly during follow-up.
Results: Eight of the 18 tumors regressed and 10 recurred. The one- and two-year metastasis-free survival rates calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method were, respectively, 61.11% to 44.44% (95% confidence interval). Recurrences were managed with enucleation (three patients), proton beam therapy (six), or additional thermotherapy (one). After treatment, visual acuity was maintained or improved for the eight patients with nonrecurrent tumors. Pathologic analysis of the three enucleated eyes revealed scleral invasion.
Conclusions: Despite encouraging initial short-term results obtained with TTT for the management of small choroidal melanomas, the occurrence of severe complications, especially recurrences and insufficient local tumor control, should raise concern about indications for primary TTT given as isolated treatment for small melanomas of the posterior pole.