We observed a young woman who showed growth of a choroidal melanoma over the course of 2 pregnancies, with subsequent enucleation of the eye. This is the first such documented case. In addition 4 other women with uveal malignant melanomas presented during pregnancy. This observed number of pregnancies (5) was greater than the expected number (2.1) among women of childbearing age who underwent enucleation with subsequent analysis in our pathology laboratory. However, this difference was not statistically significant. Further, more females 44 years of age or younger underwent enucleation for malignant melanoma than men of comparable age. Evaluation of these cases led us to propose that there is a subset of patients whose ocular melanomas are hormonally responsive. We therefore analysed uveal melanoma and choroidal tissue from 7 patients, including one of the pregnant women, for the presence of oestrogen receptors. No specific oestrogen binding was found. The possibilities that other hormones are involved or an immunological mechanism is operative are discussed.
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