A Case of Non-Irradiated Balloon Cell Melanoma of the Choroid: Expanding the Morphological Spectrum of Primary Uveal Melanomas

Diagnostics (Basel). 2022 Mar 5;12(3):642. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics12030642.


Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common primary intraocular tumor in adults and usually has a very poor prognosis. Histologically, UMs have been classified in epithelioid cell type, spindle cell type, and mixed cell type. Balloon cells are large pale cells that contain small, hyperchromatic, central nuclei with vesiculated, clear, and lipid-rich cytoplasm. A balloon cell morphology is infrequently observed in naevi and even less frequently in malignant melanomas of the skin, conjunctiva, ciliary body and choroid. In this regard, UMs that exhibit balloon cell features are generally those previously treated with proton beam irradiation and then enucleated, rather than those that directly underwent primary surgery. To the best of our knowledge, very few cases of primary UM showing extensive balloon cell morphology have been reported in scientific literature to date. We herein present an unusual case of primary UM with diffuse balloon cell changes in a 69-year-old woman.

Keywords: balloon cell; eye tumor; non-irradiated melanoma of the choroid; uveal melanoma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports