Conjunctival Myxoid Lesions: Clinical-Pathologic Multiparametric Analysis, Including Molecular Genetics (An American Ophthalmological Society Thesis)

Am J Ophthalmol. 2019 Sep;205:115-131. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2019.04.027. Epub 2019 May 10.


Purpose: To evaluate the clinical and pathologic characteristics of conjunctival myxoid lesions, with specific focus on PRKAR1A studies, in order to distinguish neoplastic conjunctival myxoma from other myxoid conjunctival lesions.

Methods: A retrospective, interventional, multicenter study of all patients with conjunctival myxoma, conjunctival stromal tumor, or reactive fibromyxoid proliferation diagnosed during 1988-2018. Patient and family medical histories and clinical and pathologic characteristics of excised lesions were assessed.

Results: There were 28 patients with conjunctival myxoid lesions diagnosed as myxoma (16/28), conjunctival stromal tumor (10/28), or reactive fibromyxoid proliferation (2/28). The patients with abundant myxoid matrix lesions (14/28, 50%) were younger (mean 49 [range 23-68] years) than those with scant-to-moderate myxoid matrix lesions (14/28, mean 61 [range 18-82] years; P = .04). Abundant myxoid matrix lesions more likely contained predominantly stellate cells (6/14 [43%] vs 0/14 [0%]; P = .05) and fibrillar collagen (13/14 [93%] vs 2/14 [14%]; P < .0001), conforming to the standard morphologic definition of myxoma. Absence of PRKAR1A protein expression was found in 2 lesions with morphologic features of myxoma (2/14, 14%), 1 of which demonstrated a pathogenic mutation in the PRKAR1A gene. There was no difference between the lesions with respect to other clinical and pathologic parameters.

Conclusions: PRKAR1A plays a role in the development of a subset of conjunctival myxomas, particularly in tumors fulfilling stringent morphologic criteria for myxoma. With the exception of PRKAR1A studies, current immunohistochemical panels cannot reliably distinguish between neoplastic conjunctival myxomas and other myxoid lesions, underscoring the importance of morphology in establishing accurate diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Conjunctiva / pathology*
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / genetics
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase RIalpha Subunit / genetics*
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase RIalpha Subunit / metabolism
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Markers / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Myxoma / genetics
  • Myxoma / metabolism
  • Myxoma / pathology*
  • Ophthalmology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase RIalpha Subunit
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Genetic Markers
  • PRKAR1A protein, human