Carcinoma Metastatic to the Eye and Orbit III. A Clinicopathologic Study of 28 Cases Metastatic to the Orbit

Cancer. 1976 Sep;38(3):1326-35. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(197609)38:3<1326::aid-cncr2820380336>;2-#.


Two hundred and twenty-seven cases of carcinoma metastatic to the eye and orbit have been reviewed previously. The orbit alone was involved in 28 cases: theses lesions constitute the basis of this clinicopathologic study. The most common signs and symptoms produced by orbital metastasis included exophthalmos (75%1, pain (29%), decreased vision (29%), periorbital swelling (25%), a visible mass (21%), ophthalmoplegia, and diplopia (18%). The ophthalmologists' preoperative (or premortem) clinical diagnoses were: orbital mass, 36%; metastatic carcinoma, 29%; leukemia, 7%; melanosarcoma, 4%; mixed tumor of lacrimal gland, 4%; and meningioma, 4%. The sites of the primary tumors in the 28 patients with orbital metastasis were as follows: breast, eight; lung, four; genitourinary tract, four; pancreas, one; and ileum, one. In 10 patients the site of the primary carcinoma was not determined. In 17 of the 28 patients, symptoms of orbital metastasis preceded detection of a primary tumor elsewhere in the body. In 10 of the remaining 11 patients, detection of the primary tumor had preceded the onset of orbital symptoms. In one patient, symptoms of the primary tumor and of orbital metastasis appeared at about the same time. The median survival of patients with carcinoma metastatic to the orbit was 15.6 months from the time of orbital surgery. This was much better than the median survival of the 227 patients in the overall study (7.4 months) and far better than the median survival of the patients with metastasis to the anterior segment of the eye (only 5.4 months).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Orbital Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Time Factors