Palladium-103 ophthalmic plaque radiation therapy for choroidal melanoma: 400 treated patients

Ophthalmology. 2009 Apr;116(4):790-6, 796.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2008.12.027. Epub 2009 Feb 25.


Purpose: To describe 18 years of experience with palladium-103 ((103)Pd) ophthalmic plaque brachytherapy.

Design: Retrospective case series.

Participants: From 1990 to 2007, 400 patients were diagnosed with uveal melanoma, found negative for metastatic disease, and treated. Episcleral (103)Pd radiation was delivered to a mean apical radiation dose of 73.3 Gy over 5 to 7 continuous days.

Intervention: Palladium-103 ophthalmic plaque brachytherapy.

Main outcome measures: Patients were evaluated for local tumor control, visual acuity, radiation damage (retinopathy, optic neuropathy, cataract), and metastatic disease.

Results: A total of 272 tumors (68%) were located at or posterior to the equator. There were 186 (46.5%) T1 tumors, 156 (39%) T2 tumors, 50 (12.5%) T3 tumors, and 8 (2%) T4 tumors. Patients were followed for a maximum of 205 months (mean, 51.1 months). Fourteen patients required secondary enucleation (5 for tumor growth and 9 for glaucoma pain control). The local control rate was 96.7%. Life table analysis of patients with 20/200 or better before treatment (n = 357) suggests that 79% and 69% are expected to retain that acuity for 5 and 10 years, respectively. Life table analysis demonstrates a probability that 92.7% and 86.6% of patients will be free of metastatic disease at 5 and 10 years, respectively.

Conclusions: In a nonrandomized phase I clinical evaluation, (103)Pd ophthalmic plaque radiotherapy was used to treat 400 patients with uveal melanoma. In this series, results after (103)Pd ophthalmic plaque radiotherapy were superior to those reported for alternative forms of radiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Choroid Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Choroid Neoplasms / mortality
  • Choroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Melanoma / radiotherapy*
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Palladium / therapeutic use*
  • Radiation Injuries / diagnosis
  • Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity


  • Radioisotopes
  • Palladium