Uveal Melanoma Risk Factors: A Systematic Review of Meta-Analyses

Curr Eye Res. 2017 Aug;42(8):1085-1093. doi: 10.1080/02713683.2017.1297997. Epub 2017 May 11.


Purpose: There is currently no clinical risk-assessment tool allowing identification of patients at risk for developing uveal melanoma (UM) who might benefit from regular screening. As a first step toward the elaboration of such a tool, we systematically reviewed UM risk factors already established by meta-analysis.

Methods: Two reviewers independently screened Pubmed, Medline, Embase, and Web of Science from their respective inception dates until July 2016 using a combination of keywords and MeSH terms. Eligible studies were meta-analyses or systematic reviews providing pooled odds ratios (ORs) of risk factors for UM development or sufficient information to calculate them. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews tool.

Results: Four meta-analyses with a mean methodological quality score of 65.9% (min: 54.5%; max: 72.7%) were included. The following significant risk factors were identified: atypical cutaneous nevi (OR 2.82, 95% CI 1.10-7.26), welding (OR 2.05, 95% CI 1.20-3.51), occupational cooking (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.33-2.46), fair skin color (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.31-2.47), light eye color (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.31-2.34), common cutaneous nevi (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.27-2.39), propensity to sunburn (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.29-2.09), iris nevi (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.03-2.27), and cutaneous freckles (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.09-1.49). Non-significant factors included outdoor leisure activity, occupational sunlight exposure, latitude of birth, and hair color.

Conclusion: Moderate quality of evidence determined nine significant risk factors for developing UM. Knowledge of these variables will assist researchers in the elaboration of a formal risk-assessment tool allowing clinicians to estimate susceptibility to the disease and necessity of regular screening.

Keywords: Host susceptibility; occupational exposure; risk factors; systematic review; uveal melanoma.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Melanoma* / diagnosis
  • Melanoma* / epidemiology
  • Melanoma* / etiology
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors
  • Uvea / pathology*
  • Uveal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Uveal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Uveal Neoplasms* / etiology

Supplementary concepts

  • Uveal melanoma