Investigating Vitreous Cytokines in Choroidal Melanoma

Cancers (Basel). 2023 Jul 21;15(14):3701. doi: 10.3390/cancers15143701.


Due to the close relationship between the vitreous and posterior eye layers, the microenvironment of these layers can affect the composition of the vitreous. Molecular analysis of the vitreous may therefore provide important insights into the pathogenesis of chorioretinal diseases. In this study, vitreous cytokines (n = 41) were evaluated to gain further insights into the tumor microenvironment in uveal melanoma (UM) arising from the choroid (CM). Cytokine levels were measured using a bead-based multiplex immunoassay panel in vitreous samples obtained from 32 eyes, including 18 with CM and 14 controls. Median fluorescence intensity values were extracted and used as relative quantification of the cytokine abundance. Vitreous cytokine levels were compared between the CM and non-CM groups and between different prognostic categories within the CM group (classified as having low or high metastatic risk using tumor biopsy-based gene expression profiling). Correlations between vitreous cytokine levels and tumor dimensions were also evaluated. Our analysis revealed twenty-six vitreous cytokines significantly upregulated in CM-affected eyes compared to the control eyes. Within the CM group, six vitreous cytokines showed altered levels (five upregulated and one downregulated) in eyes with high- vs. low-risk tumors. Levels of these six plus several other cytokines showed correlations with the tumor dimensions. In conclusion, our study has uncovered several UM-relevant vitreous cytokines, worthy of follow-up in larger studies as potential candidates for liquid biopsy-based biomarker development and/or new therapeutic targeting.

Keywords: biomarkers; chemokines; choroidal melanoma; cytokines; gene expression profiling; liquid biopsy; ocular cancer; prognosis; uveal melanoma; vitreous.