Purpose: The purposes of this study were to evaluate the incidence of uveal melanoma in France in 1992, to describe the characteristics of the tumors and their treatments.
Methods: This was a retrospective and multicentric study. First a questionnaire was sent to 4575 French ophthalmologists asking whether they had established a diagnosis of uveal melanoma during 1992, and if so, to describe the tumor and its management. Then the patients files were reviewed in the specialized treatment centers (Paris, Lyon, Nice, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand). All the data were statistically analysed.
Results: 412 new cases of uveal melanomas were registered (incidence 0.7/100000) affecting 234 females and 178 males. The cases ranged in age from 7 to 93 years (mean 61.5 years). There were 5 (1%) isolated tumors of the iris, 75 (18%) of the ciliary body, either isolated (10%) either associated to iris and/or to choroïdal tumors and 332 (81%) choroïdal melanomas. 201 (53%) tumors were posterior to the equator and 153 (40%) had a margin at less than 3 mm of the optic disc; 87 (21%) melanomas were detected in asymptomatic patients. In 29 (7%) other cases, the diagnosis was established after enlargement of the tumor. In all other eyes, symptoms were present. 17% of the melanomas were T1, 34% were T2, et 48% were T3. 353 (86%) melanomas were pigmented, 30 (7%) were achromic and 29 (7%) of the mixed color type. 156 (38%) tumors were associated with a retinal detachment. In 12 cases (3%), at presentation there was an extrascleral extension. 9 patients (2%) had metastases (7 to the liver, 1 to the lungs and 1 to the lungs and bones). The study of the patients residence and work did not show any environmental risk factor. The initial treatment was protontherapy in 251 patients (63%), plaque therapy in 91 (23%), enucleation in 40 (10%), and other methods in 18.
Conclusion: This was the first epidemiologic study conducted in France on this subject. It describes the clinical features of the disease, its geographical display and its management in this country.