A reappraisal of survival data on patients with uveal melanomas has led us to these impressions: (a) that the mortality rate before enucleation is low, estimated at 1% per year; (b) that the mortality rate rises abruptly following enucleation, reaching a peak of about 8% during the second year after enucleation; and (c) that approximately two-thirds of the fatalities could be attributed to the dissemination of tumour emboli at the time of enucleation. From these impressions we believe the following conclusions are warranted: (a) enucleation as it has been performed in the past may have for many patients an adverse rather than a beneficial effect with respect to the development of metastatic disease from malignant melanoma of the choroid and ciliary body. (b) A long-term follow-up study of untreated patients with melanomas of the choroid and ciliary body is indicated. (c) New techniques for enucleation designed to prevent the dissemination of tumour cells must be developed and tested to enable the ophthalmic surgeon to remove safely the tumour-containing eye that has developed such complications as uncontrollable glaucoma, panophthalmitis, or proptosis from extraocular extension.
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