A 17-year retrospective study of institutional results for eye plaque brachytherapy of uveal melanoma using (125)I, (103)Pd, and (131)Cs and historical perspective

Brachytherapy. Jul-Aug 2011;10(4):331-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2011.01.006. Epub 2011 Feb 24.


Purpose: To compare overall survival, local and distant failure rates, ocular toxicity, and vision preservation in patients treated with eye plaque brachytherapy at Tufts Medical Center with those in the published literature.

Methods and materials: Records were reviewed for 53 patients with the diagnosis of uveal melanoma treated with plaque brachytherapy at Tufts Medical Center over the past 17 years. American Joint Committee on Cancer staging (T1, T2, or T3) were 4, 39, and 10 patients, respectively. All the patients were treated using (125)I (n=37), (103)Pd (n=5), or (131)Cs (n=11) to a dose of 85Gy (documented as 100Gy before 1996 for the same physical dose).

Results: With a mean followup of 75 months, 38 of 53 patients were still alive. Five patients (all (125)I) developed liver metastases (9%) with no evidence of local failure. There were 10 definitive local failures and four additional transpupillary thermo-therapy procedures performed to ensure local control for lesions slow to respond. Twelve patients (23%) required enucleation. At most recent followup, 32 patients (71%) maintained 20/200 vision or better in the treated eye. In this first report of (131)Cs plaque therapy with a mean followup of 20 months, there were two transpupillary thermo-therapy procedures and one definitive failure requiring enucleation after 10 months.

Conclusions: Our disease control and ocular results were comparable to those in the literature given the extended followup. We are developing a multi-institutional, prospective clinical protocol for considering radionuclide selection and other prescriptive criteria.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / radiotherapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging*
  • Palladium*
  • Radioisotopes*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uveal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uveal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*


  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Radioisotopes
  • Palladium

Supplementary concepts

  • Uveal melanoma