Tumour cell proliferation after failed ruthenium plaque radiotherapy for posterior uveal melanoma

Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 1997 Apr;75(2):148-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0420.1997.tb00112.x.


Enucleation following ruthenium plaque radiotherapy for posterior uveal melanoma indicates failure of treatment. This study focused on the histopathological findings and remaining tumour cell growth fraction in 42 of 46 patients with failed ruthenium plaque treatment (of 266 patients treated) for melanoma of the choroid or ciliary body. The cause for enucleation was clinically detected tumour regrowth in 27 (64%) patients, treatment-related ocular side effects in 12 (29%) cases and the patient's personal preference in three (7%) cases. The median time elapsing from plaque radiotherapy to enucleation was not significantly different for patients with recurrent tumour growth (23 months) compared to those enucleated without clinical signs of regrowth (19 months). While all tumours showed some regressive features by histopathological examination, only five melanomas were completely necrotic and viable-appearing tumours cells were present in all of the remaining 37 (88%) irradiated tumours. Microwave processed PC-10 immunostainings increased the sensitivity to detect cycling cells compared to the sole use of mitotic cell counts. By the former technique, proliferating tumour cells were detected in 17 of 23 (74%) studied melanomas of eyes enucleated for tumour regrowth following brachytherapy. Also, the number of cycling melanoma cells was similar to that of non-irradiated controls managed solely by enucleation. In contrast, the proliferative compartments of irradiated, but non-recurrent, posterior uveal melanomas were significantly reduced compared to those of matched controls. Still, cycling tumour cells were present in four of 13 (31%) irradiated melanomas, clinically assumed to be successfully treated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Brachytherapy*
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Division
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Eye Enucleation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / radiotherapy
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ruthenium Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Uveal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uveal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Uveal Neoplasms / surgery


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Ruthenium Radioisotopes