Uveal melanoma: trends in incidence, treatment, and survival

Ophthalmology. 2011 Sep;118(9):1881-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.01.040. Epub 2011 Jun 24.


Purpose: To determine trends in incidence, treatment, and survival with primary uveal melanoma in the United States over a 36-year period from 1973 to 2008.

Design: Systematic review of existing databases.

Participants: A total of 4070 patients with primary uveal melanoma (International Classification of Disease for Oncology [ICD-O-2] codes C69.3 [choroid], C69.4 [ciliary body and iris], and C69.2 [retina]) derived from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program database in the United States from 1973 to 2008.

Methods: The significance of trends in age-adjusted incidence, treatment, and 5-year relative survival rates were determined using chi-square testing and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Main outcome measures: Age-adjusted incidence, form of treatment (surgery, radiation, or both), and 5-year relative survival rates.

Results: There were 4070 cases of uveal melanoma representing 3.1% of all recorded cases of melanoma. The majority of cases (98.3%) were reported by hospital inpatient/outpatient clinics. Histopathologic confirmation was available in 2804 cases (72.1% for all years). The mean age-adjusted incidence of uveal melanoma in the United States was 5.1 per million (95% CI, 4.8-5.3). The majority of cases (97.8%) occurred in the white population. There was a statistically significant variation of age-adjusted incidence between sexes (male = 5.8, 95% CI, 5.5-6.2; and female = 4.4, 95% CI, 4.2-4.7). A decreasing trend was observed in patients treated with surgery alone (93.8% for 1973-1975 vs. 28.3% for 2006-2008), whereas a corresponding increase was seen in those treated with radiation (1.8% for 1973-1975 vs. 62.5% for 2006-2008). No change in the 5-year relative survival rate (81.6%) was observed from 1973 to 2008.

Conclusions: The age-adjusted incidence of uveal melanoma (5.1 per million) has remained unchanged from 1973 to 2008. Despite a shift toward more conservative treatments, survival has not improved during this time period.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Melanoma* / epidemiology
  • Melanoma* / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • SEER Program / trends
  • Survival Rate
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Uveal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Uveal Neoplasms* / therapy