Purpose: Optimal radiation therapy for uveal melanoma is uncertain, and the relative efficacies of radioactive plaques and charged particles are unclear.
Methods: The authors prospectively studied helium-ion irradiation and iodine 125 (125I) brachytherapy in a randomized, dynamically balanced trial. Of the 184 patients who met the eligibility criteria, 86 were treated with helium ions and 98 with 125I brachytherapy.
Results: No patients with uveal melanoma had a history of systemic malignancy. Tumors were less than 15 mm in maximum diameter and less than 10 mm in thickness. A minimum tumor dose of 70 GyE was delivered to the tumor apex. There was a significantly higher local recurrence rate after 125I brachytherapy than after helium-ion irradiation. Enucleations occurred more frequently after brachytherapy (relative risk = 1.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.78-5.78). More anterior segment complications occurred after helium-ion irradiation. To date, there has been no measurable impact on survival.
Conclusions: Most uveal melanomas can be managed with radiation with retention of the eye. There was better tumor control with helium-ion irradiation; however, there were more anterior segment complications.