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Ophthalmology. 2011 Sep;118(9):1881-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.01.040. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Uveal melanoma: trends in incidence, treatment, and survival.

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  • 1Ophthalmic Oncology, Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.



To determine trends in incidence, treatment, and survival with primary uveal melanoma in the United States over a 36-year period from 1973 to 2008.


Systematic review of existing databases.


A total of 4070 patients with primary uveal melanoma (International Classification of Disease for Oncology [ICD-O-2] codes C69.3 [choroid], C69.4 [ciliary body and iris], and C69.2 [retina]) derived from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program database in the United States from 1973 to 2008.


The significance of trends in age-adjusted incidence, treatment, and 5-year relative survival rates were determined using chi-square testing and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Age-adjusted incidence, form of treatment (surgery, radiation, or both), and 5-year relative survival rates.


There were 4070 cases of uveal melanoma representing 3.1% of all recorded cases of melanoma. The majority of cases (98.3%) were reported by hospital inpatient/outpatient clinics. Histopathologic confirmation was available in 2804 cases (72.1% for all years). The mean age-adjusted incidence of uveal melanoma in the United States was 5.1 per million (95% CI, 4.8-5.3). The majority of cases (97.8%) occurred in the white population. There was a statistically significant variation of age-adjusted incidence between sexes (male = 5.8, 95% CI, 5.5-6.2; and female = 4.4, 95% CI, 4.2-4.7). A decreasing trend was observed in patients treated with surgery alone (93.8% for 1973-1975 vs. 28.3% for 2006-2008), whereas a corresponding increase was seen in those treated with radiation (1.8% for 1973-1975 vs. 62.5% for 2006-2008). No change in the 5-year relative survival rate (81.6%) was observed from 1973 to 2008.


The age-adjusted incidence of uveal melanoma (5.1 per million) has remained unchanged from 1973 to 2008. Despite a shift toward more conservative treatments, survival has not improved during this time period.

Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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