Epidemiologic aspects of uveal melanoma

Surv Ophthalmol. 1988 Jan-Feb;32(4):239-51. doi: 10.1016/0039-6257(88)90173-7.


Although the underlying cause or causes of uveal melanoma have yet to be elucidated, important insights may be gained by examining the epidemiologic features of the disease. Uveal melanoma is an uncommon cancer with an incidence of only six cases per million population per year. It is most often diagnosed in the sixth decade and is somewhat more common in males. Apart from sporadic reports of family clusters, uveal melanoma is not considered an inherited disease. Whether some environmental exposure triggers the development of uveal melanoma remains an open question. Sunlight has been proposed as an environmental risk factor because sunlight is known to cause melanoma of the skin and both diseases are rare in nonwhite races. Unlike cutaneous melanoma, however, rates have not been increasing over time and do not vary by latitude. This paper evaluates the available evidence for sunlight and other potential risk factors for uveal melanoma, highlighting areas requiring further research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Uveal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uveal Neoplasms / mortality