Despite high rates of local tumor control in patients who are treated for uveal melanoma, most patients will eventually die of metastasis. When metastasis develops, the liver is involved in most cases, and hepatic metastases are particularly refractory to treatment. Finding effective treatments has been challenging. A comparison of survival rates in patients who were treated for metastasis over approximately 30 years may offer insights into progress that has been made in prolonging survival.Objective
To compare survival after treatment for metastasis in a cohort of patients who were treated for uveal melanoma at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEE) during an approximately 30-year period with an earlier analysis to determine if there was meaningful improvement in survival rates after treatment for metastasis.Design, Setting, and Participants
This review included patients (n = 661) who received a diagnosis of metastasis from uveal melanoma who were identified from a cohort of 3063 patients treated at MEE between January 1982 and December 2009 and followed up through December 2011. They were compared with findings from a previous study of patients treated between 1975 and 1987.Main Outcomes and Measures
Survival rates in patients who received treatment for metastasis were compared with those who did not receive treatment. The differences in survival rates were compared with an earlier analysis that was completed at MEE. A comparison of patients with hepatic metastases and extrahepatic metastases was also completed. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to calculate survival rates and the log rank test was used to test for statistically significant differences between the groups.Results
Of 620 patients with race information available, 615 (97.3%) were white; the mean (SD) age of patients was 59.71 (13.23) years and 307 (47.3%) were women. The median time from the initial treatment of the tumor to metastasis was 3.45 years (interquartile range [IQR], 2.0-5.57). Overall, the median survival time was poor (3.9 months [IQR, 1.6-10.1]). Patients who received treatment fared better than those who did not receive treatment (median survival after metastasis diagnosis, 6.3 months [IQR, 2.96-14.41] vs 1.7 months [IQR, 0.66-3.5]). This finding was similar to that of our earlier study in which median survival was 5.2 months and 2 months for treated and untreated patients, respectively.Conclusions and Relevance
These findings suggest that advances in treatments that lead to clinically meaningful improvements in survival times have not been realized. Similar survival rates in patients who were treated for metastasis were observed in this recent analysis compared with our earlier study. Adjuvant therapies that are initiated at the time of melanoma diagnosis may be the most effective way to prolong survival.