Surgical management of liver metastases from uveal melanoma: 16 years' experience at the Institut Curie

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2009 Nov;35(11):1192-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2009.02.016. Epub 2009 Mar 28.


Background: Uveal melanoma is characterised by a high prevalence of liver metastases and a poor prognosis.

Aim: To review the evolving surgical management of this challenging condition at a single institution over a 16-year period.

Patients and methods: Between January 1991 and June 2007, among 3873 patients with uveal melanoma, 798 patients had liver metastases. We undertook a detailed retrospective review of their clinical records and surgical procedures. The data was evaluated with both uni- and multivariate statistical analysis for predictive survival indicators.

Results: 255 patients underwent surgical resection. The median interval between ocular tumour diagnosis and liver surgery was 68 months (range 19-81). Liver surgery was either microscopically complete (R0; n = 76), microscopically incomplete (R1; n = 22) or macroscopically incomplete (R2; n = 157). The median overall postoperative survival was 14 months, but increased to 27 months when R0 resection was possible. With multivariate analysis, four variables were found to independently correlate with prolonged survival: an interval from primary tumour diagnosis to liver metastases >24 months, comprehensiveness of surgical resection (R0), number of metastases resected (< or = 4) and absence of miliary disease.

Conclusions: Surgical resection, when possible, is able to almost double the survival and appears at present the optimal way of improving the prognosis in metastatic uveal melanoma. Advances in medical treatments will be required to further improve survival.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uveal Neoplasms / pathology*