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Vet Pathol. 1986 Jul;23(4):418-24.

Morphology and behavior of primary ocular melanomas in 91 dogs.


Primary ocular melanocytic neoplasms from 91 dogs were divided into two groups by histologic criteria. Seventy-five were benign and composed of spindle-shaped and large polyhedral melanocytes similar to those of human ocular melanocytomas. Fifty-nine of these originated in the uvea where most resulted in uveitis, glaucoma, or hyphema prior to enucleation. None metastasized. Nineteen melanocytomas were limbal tumors. None metastasized, but three of nine incompletely excised tumors were found within the anterior chamber 2 to 3 years after the initial removal. Sixteen uveal melanocytic neoplasms were histologically malignant. Three had confirmed metastases, all within 3 months of enucleation. Cell type or pattern of growth within the globe were not predictive of biologic behavior. Our data suggest that the mitotic index is the best criterion for histologic identification of ocular melanomas with high metastatic potential. We propose that the classification of primary ocular melanomas be simplified to include only two categories: melanocytoma (benign) and melanoma (potentially malignant). Further behavioral data may justify a grading scheme for melanomas based upon mitotic index.

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