Multi-year follow-up of fine-needle aspiration biopsy in choroidal melanoma

Ophthalmology. 2012 Mar;119(3):606-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.08.046. Epub 2012 Jan 9.


Purpose: To report the local and systemic follow-up of patients undergoing transscleral intraoperative fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) at the time of iodine-125 plaque brachytherapy for the treatment of choroidal melanoma.

Design: Retrospective, single-center, consecutive case cohort study.

Participants: A total of 170 consecutive patients with choroidal melanoma.

Methods: All patients with choroidal melanoma treated with iodine-125 brachytherapy and intraoperative FNAB from January 2005 to January 2010 with at least 1 year of clinical follow-up were included.

Main outcome measures: Outcomes examined were endophthalmitis, orbital dissemination, local treatment failure, rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, monosomy 3 status, and choroidal melanoma metastasis.

Results: A total of 170 consecutive patients with clinical diagnosis of choroidal melanoma, intraoperative FNAB, and post-brachytherapy follow-up of 1 to 6 years (mean, 2.7 ± 1.3 years) were included. For tumors with height of <3.0 mm, 3.0 to 5.0 mm, and >5.0 mm, sufficient biopsy material for fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was obtained in 53%, 68%, and 91%, respectively. During the follow-up period, there was no case of postoperative endophthalmitis, orbital dissemination, or local treatment failure. Three patients developed rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. Fourteen patients developed clinical evidence of metastasis. Of the 14 patients, 8 had monosomy 3 of the primary tumor, 2 had disomy 3, 1 had trisomy 3, and 3 had insufficient material for FISH. The cumulative 5-year Kaplan-Meier metastatic rate was 13%.

Conclusions: Transscleral FNAB at the time of iodine-125 plaque brachytherapy was not associated with endophthalmitis, orbital dissemination, or local treatment failure in this series, and post-brachytherapy retinal detachment occurred in 3 eyes. The cumulative Kaplan-Meier 5-year metastatic rate was not statistically different from the rate of 13% reported by the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study for tumors of the same size treated by brachytherapy without biopsy. Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment may occur in young patients secondary to posterior vitreous detachment induced by tumor response to radiation, unrelated to FNAB.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Brachytherapy
  • Choroid Neoplasms / genetics
  • Choroid Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Choroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 3 / genetics
  • Endophthalmitis / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / radiotherapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Retinal Detachment / diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Iodine Radioisotopes