Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography biomarkers in vitreoretinal lymphoma

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2023 Mar;51(2):144-153. doi: 10.1111/ceo.14197. Epub 2023 Jan 4.


Background: Although early detection is critical, diagnosing vitreoretinal lymphoma (VRL) remains difficult. We sought to assess the potential diagnostic value of spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) in VRL.

Methods: We reviewed the clinical records and pre-treatment SD-OCT images of biopsy-confirmed VRL and uveitis patients, with primary involvement of the sub-retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and the outer retina, including acute syphilitic posterior placoid chorioretinitis (ASPPC), chronic stage sympathetic ophthalmitis (SO), and idiopathic multifocal choroiditis (MFC).

Results: We included 45 eyes of 45 VRL patients and 40 eyes of 40 uveitis patients (17 ASPPC eyes, eight chronic SO eyes, and 15 MFC eyes). On SD-OCT, lymphoma cell infiltration was observed in various retinal layers, most commonly in the sub-RPE (80%) and sub-retinal space (62%). Highly sensitive features for VRL as compared to uveitis included vitreous cells (93%), focal hyper-reflective sub-retinal infiltration (51%), and diffuse RPE elevations (56%). The features strongly specific for VRL included preretinal deposits (92.5%), intra-retinal infiltration (except the incomplete vertical hyper-reflective type, 100%), banded hyper-reflective sub-retinal infiltration (90%), and confluent RPE detachments (100%). We identified an approach to VRL diagnosis based on these SD-OCT findings: (1) two highly sensitive features plus one strongly specific feature; or (2) one highly sensitive feature plus two strongly specific features, demonstrated a sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 95% for VRL.

Conclusions: The SD-OCT may enable the detection of detailed lymphoma infiltration characteristics and provide significant supplemental value for VRL diagnosis, particularly when combining highly sensitive and specific VRL-associated SD-OCT features.

Keywords: diagnosis; intra-ocular lymphoma; optical coherence tomography; uveitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chorioretinitis* / drug therapy
  • Eye Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma* / diagnosis
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinal Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syphilis*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods
  • Vitreous Body / diagnostic imaging
  • Vitreous Body / pathology