Background: For certain types of cancer, resection alone rarely achieves a cure, but patients nevertheless tend to have a prolonged survival before they die of the tumor. For other types of cancer, the opposite scenario prevails, suggesting that those biologic mechanisms that allow a curative resection are not identical to those that determine survival time among uncured patients.
Methods: The multivariate log-normal model can be used to detect the association of cured fraction and median survival time of patients with specific prognostic covariates. This model was applied to survival data from 2892 patients with intraocular melanoma who were treated by enucleation.
Results: This analysis showed that large tumor size and pleomorphic nucleoli within the tumor were associated independently with a low probability of cure and short median survival time. Advanced patient age and mixed cell type, however, were highly associated with only a short median survival time.
Conclusions: For patients with intraocular melanoma treated only by enucleation, the median survival time is not modulated by the same biologic factors that determine the likelihood of a curative resection.