Iris melanoma: features and prognosis in 317 children and adults

J AAPOS. 2012 Feb;16(1):10-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2011.10.012.


Purpose: To evaluate iris melanoma in children versus adults.

Methods: Retrospective, nonrandomized clinical case series including all patients with a clinical diagnosis of iris melanoma managed at the Ocular Oncology Service at Wills Eye Institute over 40 years. Patients were divided into three age categories based on age at presentation: children (≤ 20 years), mid-adults (21-60 years), and older adults (>60 years). The clinical features, treatments, and outcomes were statistically analyzed based on patient age at presentation. The main outcome measures were melanoma features and related metastasis and death.

Results: Of 8,101 eyes with uveal melanoma, there were 317 (4%) with iris melanoma, including 24 (8%) children (≤ 20 years), 187 (59%) mid-adults (21-60 years), and 106 (33%) older adults (>60 years). There was no age-related difference in race, sex, tumor quadrant, thickness, pigmentation, associated corectopia, ectropion uveae, hyphema, or extraocular extension. Significant age-related differences were found with mean tumor basal diameter, tapioca appearance, mean intraocular pressure, secondary glaucoma, tumor seeding in angle, and mean number of clock hours of angle seeding. Multivariate analysis of factors predictive of metastasis included extraocular extension and high intraocular pressure. Factors predictive of death included increased tumor thickness and high intraocular pressure. There was no difference in metastasis or death by age group.

Conclusions: Iris melanoma shows significant clinical differences in children versus adults, with smaller tumor size, less tumor seeding in angle, and lower incidence of secondary glaucoma. There was no significant difference in metastasis or death by age group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iris Neoplasms / mortality
  • Iris Neoplasms / pathology
  • Iris Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Uveal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Uveal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uveal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Uveal melanoma