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American Joint Committee on Cancer Classification of Uveal Melanoma (Anatomic Stage) Predicts Prognosis in 7731 Patients : The 2013 Zimmerman Lecture

Carol L. Shields, MD, , Swathi Kaliki, MD, Minoru Furuta, MD, Enzo Fulco, MD, Carolina Alarcon, MD, Jerry A. Shields, MD

Article in Press

Purpose
To analyze the clinical features and prognosis of posterior uveal melanoma based on the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) (7th edition) tumor staging.

Design
Retrospective interventional case series.

Participants
A total of 7731 patients.

Methods
Uveal melanoma management.

Main Outcome Measures
Melanoma-related metastasis and death.

Results
Of 7731 patients with posterior uveal (ciliary body and choroidal) melanoma, the AJCC tumor staging was stage I in 2767 (36%), stage II in 3735 (48%), stage III in 1220 (16%), and stage IV in 9 (<1%). Based on tumor staging (I, II, III, and IV), features that showed significant increase with tumor staging included age at presentation (57, 58, 60, 60 years) (P < 0.001), tumor base (8, 12, 17, 17 mm) (P < 0.001), tumor thickness (2.9, 6.0, 10.1, 10.2 mm) (P < 0.001), distance to optic disc (3, 5, 5, 5 mm) (P < 0.001), distance to foveola (3, 5, 5, 5 mm) (P < 0.001), mushroom configuration (6%, 24%, 34%, 33%) (P < 0.001), plateau configuration (3%, 4%, 7%, 11%) (P < 0.001), tumor pigmentation (48%, 53%, 69%, 78%) (P < 0.001), and extraocular extension (0%, 1%, 11%, 22%) (P < 0.001). After therapy, Kaplan–Meier estimates of metastasis at 1, 5, 10, and 20 years were <1%, 5%, 12%, and 20% for stage I, 2%; 17%, 29%, and 44% for stage II; 6%, 44%, 61%, and 73% for stage III, and 100% by 1 year for stage IV. Kaplan–Meier estimates of death at 1, 5, 10, and 20 years were <1%, 3%, 6%, and 8% for stage I; <1%, 9%, 15%, and 24% for stage II; 3%, 27%, 39%, and 53% for stage III, and 100% by 1 year for stage IV. Compared with stage I, the hazard ratio for metastasis/death was 3.1/3.1 for stage II and 9.3/10.1 for stage III.

Conclusions
Compared with uveal melanoma classified as AJCC stage I, the rate of metastasis/death was 3 times greater for stage II, 9 to 10 times greater for stage III, and further greater for stage IV. Early detection of posterior uveal melanoma, at a point when the tumor is small, can be lifesaving.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

  • AJCC, American Joint Committee on Cancer;
  • HR, hazard ratio;
  • TNM, tumor, node, and metastasis