Background: Cytogenetic investigations of choroid and ciliary body melanomas have revealed that the majority of cases are characterized by recurrent clonal abnormalities involving chromosomes 3, 6, and 8. The authors sought to determine whether these abnormalities were associated with outcome.
Methods: Fifty-four patients who underwent enucleation for untreated uveal melanoma between 1988 and 1996 were subjected to complete cytogenetic analysis. The most recent follow-up data from the time of enucleation was obtained. Patient outcomes were divided into two groups: 1) alive with metastases or dead of disease, and 2) alive without known metastases or dead of other causes. The relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of a poor outcome were calculated for each chromosomal abnormality and clinical characteristic.
Results: Patients were followed for a median of 38 months. No patients were lost to follow-up. Abnormalities of chromosomes 3 and 8 were associated with a poor prognosis, but only when these two chromosomal abnormalities were present together (RR = 4.1, 95% CI = 1.7-9.9). The presence of a chromosome 6 abnormality was predictive of a good outcome (RR = 0.2, 95% CI = 0.1-0.8), even in the presence of chromosome 3 and 8 abnormalities. The only clinical factor associated with a poor outcome was the presence of extrascleral extension.
Conclusions: In this group of patients with large posterior uveal melanomas, the concurrent presence of cytogenetic abnormalities of chromosomes 3 and 8 was associated with a poor outcome. An abnormality of chromosome 6 appeared to have a protective effect. These data suggest that cytogenetic analysis may provide prognostic information on patients with uveal melanoma and that further investigation of the contributions of these chromosomal aberrations to disease progression is warranted.