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Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2019 Mar 5. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000560. [Epub ahead of print]

Small choroidal melanoma: detection with multimodal imaging and management with plaque radiotherapy or AU-011 nanoparticle therapy.

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Ocular Oncology Service, Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



To explore risk factors for choroidal nevus transformation into melanoma using multimodal imaging and review current treatment options.


A recently published longitudinal study of 3806 choroidal nevi, imaged with optical coherence tomography (OCT), ultrasonography, and standard wavelength autofluorescence, revealed transformation into melanoma in 5.8% at 5 years and 13.9% at 10 years, using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Multivariate factors predictive of transformation included thickness more than 2 mm (by ultrasonography), fluid subretinal (by OCT), symptoms vision loss (by Snellen acuity), orange pigment (by autofluorescence), melanoma hollow (by ultrasonography), and DIaMeter more than 5 mm (by photography). These important factors can be recalled by the mnemonic 'To Find Small Ocular Melanoma Doing IMaging' (TFSOM-DIM). The mean 5-year estimate of nevus growth into melanoma was 1.1% for those with 0 risk factor, 11% with one factor, 22% with two factors, 34% with three factors, 51% with four factors, and 55% with five risk factors. Management of small choroidal melanoma typically involves plaque radiotherapy with 5 and 10-year rates of tumor recurrence at 7 and 11%, visual acuity loss (≥3 Snellen lines) at 39 and 49%, and melanoma-related metastasis at 4 and 9%. A novel infrared dye-conjugated virus-like nanoparticle (AU-011) is currently under investigation for treatment of small choroidal melanoma, with a goal to induce tumor regression and minimize vision loss.


The mnemonic, TFSOM-DIM, can assist the clinician in detection of small choroidal melanoma. Treatment of small melanoma with plaque radiotherapy offers tumor control but with potential vision loss. A novel nanoparticle therapy using AU-011 is currently under trial.

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