To statistically determine differences in microcirculation patterns between nevi and uveal melanomas and the influence of these patterns on metastatic potential in the long-term follow-up of 112 patients with melanocytic uveal tumours.In vivomarkers indicating malignancy and metastatic potential have implications for treatment decision.Methods:
Primary diagnosis and work-up included clinical examination, fundus photography, standardized A and B scan echography as well as evaluation of tumour microcirculation patterns via confocal fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography (ICGA). Patient data were collected from the patient files, the tumour registry or personal contact. Statistical analysis was performed with spss 22.0 using chi-square, Fisher's exact test and Kaplan–Meier survival analysis.Results:
Forty-three uveal melanocytic lesions remained untreated and were retrospectively classified as benign nevi, whereas 69 lesions were malignant melanomas (T1: 32, T2: 28, T3: 6 and T4: 3). ‘Silent’ and ‘arcs without branching’ were found significantly more often in nevi (p = 0.001 and p = 0.010), whereas ‘parallel with cross-linking’ and ‘networks’ were significantly more frequent in melanomas (p = 0.022 and p = 0.029). The microcirculation pattern ‘parallel with cross-linking’ proved significantly more frequent in patients who developed metastases (p = 0.001).Conclusions:
Certain microcirculation patterns may guide us in differentiating uveal nevi from malignant melanomas. A non-invasive prognostic marker can be of great value for borderline lesions in which cytology is less likely taken. ‘Parallel with cross-linking’ did not only indicate malignancy, but it was also associated with later tumour metastasis.