Ocular melanoma

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2010 Dec;134(12):1778-84. doi: 10.1043/2009-0441-RAR.1.


Context: Intraocular melanoma of the ciliary body and choroid is the most common primary ocular malignant tumor in adults and the most common noncutaneous melanoma.

Objective: To describe the most salient clinical features, histopathologic findings, and treatment modalities of intraocular melanoma, as well as the novel therapies currently being tested.

Data sources: Clinically, it is important to determine which lesions carry a worse prognosis so as to offer patients the best treatment modalities available. Tumor location, size, histopathology, cytogenetic abnormalities, and tumor profiling are all used in determining the risk of death from metastatic disease of uveal melanocytic lesions. Despite successful local tumor control, up to 50% of patients have metastatic disease within 15 years of diagnosis; there is no effective treatment for metastatic disease.

Conclusions: Pathologists should be aware of the importance of tumor gross description, cellular histopathology classification, the use of fine-needle aspiration biopsy coupled with cytogenetics, and the new classification of uveal malignant melanomas that is based on chromosome 3 status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Uveal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Uveal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uveal Neoplasms / therapy