Ocular oncology: advances in retinoblastoma, uveal melanoma and conjunctival melanoma

Br Med Bull. 2017 Jan 1;121(1):107-119. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldw053.


Background: Retinoblastoma, uveal and conjunctival melanomas are important malignancies within the remit of ocular oncology. Outlined are the diagnostic features and management principles, as well as advancements in the field and current challenges.

Sources of data: Original papers, reviews and guidelines.

Areas of agreement: Most eyes with retinoblastoma (International Intraocular Retinoblastoma Classification (IIRC) Group A-D) are salvaged, whereas advanced cases (Group E) remain a challenge. Despite a high rate of local tumour control in uveal melanoma, metastatic spread commonly occurs. Conjunctival melanoma is treated by complete resection, but high rates of local recurrence occur, with the possibility of systemic relapse and death.

Areas of controversy: Use of the IIRC in retinoblastoma, and systemic screening in melanomas.

Growing points: Utilization of novel treatment modalities in retinoblastoma and an increasing understanding of the genetic basis of melanomas.

Areas timely for developing research: Improvements in chemotherapy delivery in retinoblastoma and prognostic tests in melanomas.

Keywords: choroidal melanoma; conjunctival melanoma; eye cancer; eye tumour; melanoma; retinoblastoma, uveal melanoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / therapy
  • Early Detection of Cancer / trends
  • Humans
  • Intravitreal Injections
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Retinal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Retinal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Retinoblastoma / diagnosis
  • Retinoblastoma / pathology*
  • Retinoblastoma / therapy
  • Uveal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uveal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uveal Neoplasms / therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents