Objective: To study in vivo tumor growth rates, doubling times, and the association of these parameters with local tumor control and melanoma-related mortality.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed uveal melanomas with documented growth on serial evaluations before treatment. The tumor dimensions were based on clinical measurements for tumor diameters and quantitative echography to determine tumor thickness. One hundred forty-five patients met study criteria. All tumors were initially measured by the same observer with the same techniques, and, in 133 cases, serial observations and treatment were performed at our institution.
Results: Tumor-doubling time estimates were log normally distributed, with a median of 1.4 years. Those 13 patients in whom metastases developed tended to have more rapid tumor growth rates. Iodine 125 brachytherapy failed in 8 patients with more rapidly growing tumors.
Conclusions: Faster growing tumors appear to be more likely to develop early metastases and have failure of local radiation control.