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Invasive conjunctival melanoma mimicking ocular surface squamous neoplasia: a case series
  1. Beatrice Gallo1,
  2. Caroline Thaung2,3,
  3. Gordon Hay1,
  4. Amit K Arora1,
  5. Victoria ML Cohen1,2,
  6. Bertil Damato1,
  7. Mandeep S Sagoo1,2,3
  1. 1 Ocular Oncology Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2 NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital and University College London Institute of Ophthalmology, London, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Beatrice Gallo, Ocular Oncology Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital, City Road, London, UK;{at}


Background Conjunctival melanoma is the second most common conjunctival malignant tumour after squamous cell carcinoma, usually arising from primary acquired melanosis and less commonly from a conjunctival naevus or de novo. We report four cases of conjunctival melanoma masquerading as ocular surface squamous neoplasia.

Methods Four patients (2 females and 2 males; mean age 60.7 years; range 41–72 years) were referred for suspicious conjunctival lesions. In all cases, the lesions had a perilimbal location, were non-pigmented (cases 1 and 3) or mildly pigmented (cases 2 and 4), had a fleshy (cases 1, 2 and 4) or papillomatous (case 3) appearance and involved the corneal surface. In each case, our main clinical differential diagnosis included conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia and squamous cell carcinoma. All four patients underwent an excisional biopsy with double freeze-thaw cryotherapy and alcohol keratoepitheliectomy.

Results In all four cases, the histopathological diagnosis was of invasive conjunctival melanoma with extension to the deep surgical margins. Adjuvant therapy consisting of strontium-90 β radiotherapy (all 4 patients) and topical Mitomicyn C (patient 2) was administered.

Conclusion Conjunctival melanoma can clinically resemble ocular surface squamous neoplasia. Clinical impressions therefore need to be confirmed histopathologically.

  • Conjunctiva
  • tumour
  • ocular surface squamous neoplasia

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  • Contributors Study concept and design: BG and MSS. Acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data: all authors. Drafting of the manuscript and critical revision for important intellectual content: all authors. Final approval of the version to be published: all authors.

  • Funding The research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre based at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

  • Data sharing statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplementary material.

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