Choroidal metastasis as a presenting manifestation of lung cancer: a report of 3 cases and systematic review of the literature

Medicine (Baltimore). 2012 Jul;91(4):179-194. doi: 10.1097/MD.0b013e3182574a0b.


Symptomatic choroidal metastasis is a rare presenting manifestation of lung cancer. We describe here 3 patients with non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer who presented with choroidal metastasis and who were diagnosed and treated by the authors. We performed a systematic literature review of the previously reported patients with choroidal metastasis from lung cancer in the English-language literature. We excluded case series lacking individual patient data and identified 75 patients. In 23 of these patients, choroidal metastasis was not the presenting manifestation of lung cancer. Therefore, we included 55 patients (3 index and 52 previously reported) in the analysis. We present the demographic profile, histology, disease stage, ocular and lung lesions, diagnostic and treatment (systemic and ocular) modalities, and treatment outcomes. The majority of patients were male (67.3%) and were current or ex-smokers (78.3%); the mean age was 55.1 (standard deviation 11.2) years. Adenocarcinoma (n = 23) was the most common histologic type followed by squamous (n = 11) and small cell (n = 8). Left eye (n = 32) involvement was more common than right eye (n = 19) or bilateral (n = 4). Among patients for whom the location of primary lesion was specified, the left upper lobe (n = 13) was the most common site. The most common diagnostic modalities were bronchoscopic lung biopsy (n = 15) and enucleation (n = 13), while the liver (30.9%) was the most common extraocular metastatic site identified. Systemic chemotherapy was given in 56.4% of cases, and disease progression was the most common outcome among evaluable patients. Ocular treatment modalities included radiation (n = 23), enucleation (n = 14), and systemic steroids (n = 8). Regression of choroidal metastases with treatment was observed in 66.7% of patients who did not undergo enucleation as the primary treatment modality. Of the 3 index patients, 2 each received pemetrexed-cisplatin (as first-line therapy), gefitinib or erlotinib (as second- or third-line therapy), and intravitreal bevacizumab; and 1 patient received systemic bevacizumab. Two patients had partial response radiologically with systemic treatment, and all 3 patients had regression of choroidal metastases with ocular treatment. Recommendations regarding systemic and local (ocular) management of patients with choroidal metastasis as the presenting manifestation of lung cancer are provided.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy
  • Choroid Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Choroid Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision, Low / diagnosis
  • Vision, Low / etiology