Melanoma Metastatic to the Orbit

Ophthalmology. 1988 Aug;95(8):1033-7. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(88)33061-7.


Cutaneous malignant melanoma often metastasizes to the lung, bone, liver, subcutaneous tissue, and lymph nodes. Six cases of malignant melanoma metastatic to the orbit are presented, five from cutaneous melanomas and one from a contralateral choroidal melanoma. Melanoma rarely metastasizes to the orbit, but when orbital involvement occurs, widespread metastases are already present. Twenty-two cases were reviewed from the literature; 13 of 14 patients, with sufficient follow-up data, had widespread metastases when they presented with orbital disease. Extraocular muscles appear to be a favored site of metastases. The mean time from orbital presentation to death was 4 months. Orbital metastases from a distant melanoma is, therefore, part of a widespread metastatic process. Treatment should be directed toward palliation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / secondary*
  • Middle Aged
  • Orbital Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Orbital Neoplasms / pathology
  • Orbital Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Radiography
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Visual Acuity