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Uveal melanoma incidence trends in Canada: a national comprehensive population-based study
  1. Feras M Ghazawi1,
  2. Rami Darwich2,
  3. Michelle Le3,
  4. Elham Rahme4,
  5. Andrei Zubarev3,
  6. Linda Moreau3,
  7. Julia Valdemarin Burnier5,
  8. Denis Sasseville3,
  9. Miguel N Burnier6,
  10. Ivan V Litvinov3
  1. 1 Division of Dermatology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Faculty of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  3. 3 Division of Dermatology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  4. 4 Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  5. 5 Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  6. 6 The Henry C Witelson Ocular Pathology Laboratory, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ivan V Litvinov, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada; ivan.litvinov{at}


Background In the developed countries, uveal melanoma is the most common primary intraocular malignancy in adults. Little is known about the epidemiological and geographical distribution of uveal melanoma in Canada.

Methods To determine the incidence patterns and geographical distribution of uveal melanoma cases in Canada, we conducted the first comprehensive, population-based national study of this malignancy across all Canadian provinces and territories during 1992–2010 years. We examined two independent population-based registries: the Canadian Cancer Registry and Le Registre Québécois du Cancer using corresponding International Classification of Diseases for Oncology-3rd edition codes for all histological subtypes of uveal melanoma.

Results We report that 2215 patients were diagnosed with uveal melanoma, of which 52.1% were males. The average -annual incidence rate of uveal melanoma in Canada was 3.75 cases per million individuals per year (95% CI 3.60 to 3.91). Overall, we report a steady increase in uveal melanoma incidence with an annual increase of 0.074 cases per million individuals per year. Significant differences in the incidence rates of uveal melanoma between Canadian provinces and territories were noted, where the highest crude incidence was in British Columbia and Saskatchewan with rates of 6.38 and 5.47 cases per million individuals per year, respectively.

Conclusions This work, for the first time, defines the disease burden of uveal melanoma in Canada and highlights important longitudinal, geographical and spatial differences in the distribution of uveal melanoma in Canada.

  • uveal melanoma
  • epidemiology in Canada
  • incidence in Canada
  • patient clusters

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  • Contributors FMG, RD and IVL: Collected, plotted and analysed data, prepared the figures and wrote the article. AZ, LM, JVB, DS and MNB: analysed and interpreted the data and co-wrote the article. ML, FMG and IVL: prepared the revised version of the manuscript. ER: Performed statistical analyses. MNB, DS and IVL: Designed and supervised the study.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Cole Foundation Grant to IVL, Canadian Dermatology Foundation research grants to DS and IVL and the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ# 34753 and 36769) research grants to IVL.

  • Disclaimer No funding bodies had any role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The presented study was conducted in accordance with protocols approved by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Québec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics (QICSS), respectively, protocol numbers: CISS-RDC-668035 and 13-SSH-MCG-3749-S001. Further, in accordance with the institutional policy, this study received an exemption from the McGill University Research Ethics Board review.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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