Radiation therapy for choroidal melanoma

Surv Ophthalmol. 1997 Nov-Dec;42(3):215-32. doi: 10.1016/s0039-6257(97)00088-x.


Radiotherapy offers patients with malignant melanoma of the choroid an eye and a vision-sparing alternative to enucleation. The most commonly used forms of radiotherapy are ophthalmic plaque brachytherapy and charged-particle (external beam) radiotherapy. Unfortunately, after all forms of radiotherapy for choroidal melanoma many patients experience sight-limiting side effects, and an average of 16.3% of patients treated with radiotherapy subsequently require enucleation because of tumor regrowth or uncontrollable neovascular glaucoma. The severity, location, and incidence of radiation-induced complications are related to the type of radiation used, its method of delivery, amount of radiation delivered to normal ocular structures, the size and location of the tumor, as well as its response to irradiation. Current research is directed toward developing methods to reduce the amount of radiation delivered to normal structures, e.g., adding heat to radiotherapy. The true viability and metastatic potential of irradiated uveal melanoma cells has not been established, although clinical studies have reported local control of choroidal melanoma in 81-100% (mean = 92.8%) of cases. The purpose of this review is to present the world's experience with radiotherapy for choroidal melanoma, information that will contribute to patient education and informed consent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brachytherapy* / adverse effects
  • Brachytherapy* / methods
  • Choroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Choroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Eye / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / radiotherapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy, High-Energy* / adverse effects
  • Radiotherapy, High-Energy* / methods
  • Visual Acuity