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Metastatic tumours to the conjunctiva: report of 10 cases.
  1. H Kiratli,
  2. C L Shields,
  3. J A Shields and
  4. P DePotter
  1. Ocular Oncology Service, Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


    AIMS/BACKGROUND: Ten patients with metastatic tumours to the conjunctiva and the clinical aspects of this rare form of ocular metastasis are described in this study. METHOD: All patients with ocular and adnexal metastatic tumours referred to an ocular oncology service were reviewed and those having conjunctival metastases were studied for the site of their primary tumour, clinical features, and treatment of the conjunctival tumour, associated ocular and systemic findings, and the patients' outcome. RESULTS: The primary malignancy was carcinoma of the breast in four, lung cancer in two, laryngeal carcinoma in one, cutaneous melanoma in two, and unknown in one patient. The conjunctival metastases appeared after the primary tumour over a mean period of 44 (8-130) months. They were solitary in eight cases, located in bulbar conjunctiva in six, palpebral conjunctiva in two, and in limbus and forniceal conjunctiva in one patient each. The tumour was yellow in colour in seven patients, red in two, and brown in one. Eight patients also had metastases to other ocular structures. Seven patients received external beam radiotherapy to the affected eye, two were managed by excisional biopsy, and one with chemotherapy. The mean survival after the diagnosis of conjunctival metastasis was nine (range 2-26) months. CONCLUSION: Metastatic tumours to the conjunctiva appear at an advanced stage of the systemic disease when there are other ocular and organ metastases. The presence of a conjunctival mass in a patient with a prior systemic cancer should alert the ophthalmologist to the possibility of a conjunctival metastasis and evaluation should be pursued.

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