Two false-negative results from 32P testing for histologically verified malignant melanomas of the choroid are reported. In the first case, a haemorrhagic choroidal detachment caused an increase in probe; additionally, the tumour was necrotic. Both factors are likely to have contributed to the false-negative result. A satisfactory explanation for the false-negative result in the second case was not determined, although it may have accurately reflected a period of minimal tumour activity, inasmuch as repeat 32P testing was strongly positive eight months later, when unequivocal evidence of tumour growth was present. An alternative explanation is that the orally administered 32P was incompletely absorbed. Since 32P testing is frequently accompanied by significant manipulation both in the manoeuvre associated with tumour localization and in that associated with the actual radioactive counting, it would seem desirable to perform indicated enucleation immediately after completion of the 32P testing. While the properly performed 32P test remains a valuable diagnostic test for helping to establish the presence or absence of malignancies of the posterior globe, it is important to guard against the tendency to underestimate careful clinical evaluation.
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