Replacement and desmoplastic histopathological growth patterns: A pilot study of prediction of outcome in patients with uveal melanoma liver metastases

J Pathol Clin Res. 2018 Oct;4(4):227-240. doi: 10.1002/cjp2.105. Epub 2018 Aug 23.


Up to 50% of uveal melanomas (UM) metastasise to the liver within 10 years of diagnosis, and these almost always prove rapidly fatal. As histopathological growth patterns (HGPs) of liver metastases of the replacement and desmoplastic type, particularly from colon and breast carcinoma, may import valuable biological and prognostic information, we have studied HGP in a series of 41 UM liver metastases originating from 41 patients from the period 2006-2017. Twenty patients underwent enucleation while 21 had radiation therapy. Analysis of UM by array comparative genomic hybridisation revealed: 25 (64%) patients with high risk (monosomy3/8q gain); 13 (33%) intermediate risk (M3/8normal or disomy3/8q gain); and 1 low risk (disomy3/8normal). The principal HGP was replacement in 30 (73%) cases and desmoplastic in 11 (27%) cases. Cases with replacement demonstrated striking vascular co-option/angiotropism. With the development of liver metastasis, only the replacement pattern, largest primary tumour diameter, and R2 (incomplete resection) status predicted diminished overall survival (OS; p < 0.041, p < 0.017, p < 0.047, respectively). On multivariate analysis, only HGP (hazard ratio; HR = 6.51, p = 0.008) and resection status remained significant. The genomic high-risk variable had no prognostic value at this stage of liver metastasis. Chi-square test showed no association of HGP with monosomy 3 or 8q gain. Eighteen of 41 (44%) patients are alive with disease and 23 (56%) patients died with follow-up ranging from 12 to 318 months (mean: 70 months, median: 47 months). In conclusion, we report for the first time the frequency of the replacement and desmoplastic HGPs in liver UM metastases resected from living patients, and their potential important prognostic value for UM patients, as in other solid cancers. These results may potentially be utilised to develop radiological correlates and therapeutic targets for following and treating patients with UM metastases.

Keywords: angiotropism; desmoplastic; histopathological growth patterns; liver; metastasis; replacement; uveal melanoma; vascular co-option.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Comparative Genomic Hybridization
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Melanoma / secondary*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prognosis
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Survival Rate
  • Uveal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Uveal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Uveal Neoplasms / pathology*