Aims To evaluate the treatment of conjunctival melanoma at a large Dutch referral centre and to make recommendations for clinical management.
Methods A retrospective review was performed of clinical and histological data of 70 patients treated for a primary conjunctival melanoma between 2001 and 2014 at the Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands. Detailed follow-up data were available for all patients.
Results The mean follow-up time was 70.2 months. The overall 5-year recurrence rate was 29%, the 5-year metastasis rate 12% and the 5-year melanoma-related survival 90%. Treatment with excision alone had a significantly higher 5-year recurrence rate than (the combination of) other treatments (HR 3.73,95% CI 1.19 to 11.6, P=0.02). Initial treatment in an ocular oncology centre was associated with fewer recurrences compared with initial treatment by a local ophthalmologist of a referring centre (HR 0.32,95% CI 0.11 to 0.94, P=0.04), despite similar tumour baseline characteristics.
Conclusion Conjunctival melanoma is a rare disease with a high recurrence rate. A treatment strategy with local excision and adjuvant therapy gave a good clinical outcome, excision alone as a treatment should be considered obsolete. Initial treatment in a large referral centre improves clinical outcome, and patients should be referred to a specialised centre as soon as possible.
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Contributors Design of the study: NJB, MM and MJJ. Data acquisition: NJB, MM and SGD. Data interpretation and critical revision and approval of the manuscript: all authors. Drafting the manuscript: NJB.
Funding NJB received a MD/PhD programme grant from the Leiden University Medical Center.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval The institutional medical ethics committee agreed with this retrospective study; the study adhered to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.