Purpose: To evaluate the hypothetical effect of pre-enucleation irradiation on survival of patients with uveal melanoma.
Methods: In a prospective study between 1978 and 1990, 145 patients with uveal melanoma were treated by irradiation in two fractions of 4 Gy before enucleation. A historical control group of 89 patients with uveal melanoma treated by enucleation alone was operated on between 1971 and 1990. Patients were followed up until December 1992 or until death. The mean follow-up period was 65 months in the irradiated group and 88 months in the control group.
Results: The preoperatively irradiated group of patients showed no significant improvement of the survival rate after 7 1/2 years (75.9%) compared with the control group (72.1%). Preoperative irradiation was not associated with survival (P = .93), as assessed by Cox proportional hazard analysis, adjusted for age, gender, tumor location, tumor size, cell type, and year of enucleation. Women in both the irradiated and control groups had a better prognosis than men (P = .002).
Conclusion: Preoperative irradiation in this nonrandomized study had no effect on survival of patients with uveal melanoma.