Background: Uveal melanoma is the most common primary intraocular tumor in adults. In the last two decades the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center ocular oncology clinic has become a referral center for uveal melanoma patients.
Objectives: To describe the characteristics of uveal melanoma patients in Israel, their treatment modalities and outcomes during the years 1988-2007.
Methods: Data were collected from the files of uveal melanoma patients in the departments of ophthalmology and oncology in our facility. Statistical analysis was performed using JMP statistical software.
Results: Data were available for 558 patients. The annual incidence of uveal melanoma in the last 5 years was 47.2 +/- 7.1 new cases per year (mean +/- standard error). There were 309 women (55.4%). The age at diagnosis was 60.8 +/- 16.5 years (range 5-95). Overall, 6.6%, 16.8% and 86.9% involved the iris, ciliary-body and choroid, respectively. Tumors were classified as small, medium and large (9.0%, 64.5% and 17.9%, respectively) according to the COMS grouping criteria. The most common primary treatment was brachytherapy (74%), followed by enucleation (17.9%). Local recurrence was noted in 11.1% of patients, while metastases developed in 13.3%. The 5, 10 and 15 year melanoma-related mortality rate was 11.4%, 17.0% and 23.3%, respectively. Of the overall study population 9.3% died of metastatic uveal melanoma.
Conclusions: Uveal melanoma patients in Israel have tumors with characteristics similar to those in other countries. Brachytherapy is the predominant treatment, the local recurrence rate is low, and survival is comparable to that reported in the medical literature.