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The eyes of 26 patients with choroidal melanomas were irradiated before enucleation at the University Eye Clinic in Tübingen. Preoperative external beam radiation therapy (PERT) was administered between July 1980 and July 1986. Follow-up ranged from 25 months to 8 years, 4 months with a mean follow-up of 53 months. The average diameter of the tumor base was 15 mm and the height 10 mm. Before enucleation vertical stationary electron beam irradiation (10-12 meV) was applied to the tumor-containing eye and the orbit. The dose was increased during the course of the study from 12 to 40 Gy. Enucleation was performed by a technique that cauterized the vasculature before severing it and avoided maneuvers that would cause changes in intraocular pressure. The patients were reexamined between August and November 1988. Nine (34.6%) had died of metastases of melanoma, six of them during the second postoperative year; one patient was alive with metastases. Subsequent death occurred in all patients who had melanomas of epithelioid cell type (3 of 3) and in no patients who had melanomas of spindle A cell type (0 of 3). In this small series PERT had no apparent beneficial effect on the patient's life expectancy. RETINA 9:101-104, 1989

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