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Orbital metastases: diagnosis and course
  1. Devron H Chara,
  2. Theodore Millerb,
  3. Stewart Krolla
  1. aDepartment of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA, bDepartment of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Devron H Char, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, 10 Kirkham Street, Box 0730, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


AIMS Three issues were investigated in adult outpatients with orbital metastases. One, how accurate are current diagnostic methods? Two, what is the survival associated with orbital metastases? Three, did any clinical factors correlate with prognosis in this patient cohort?

METHODS Retrospective analysis of patients with orbital metastases managed in an ocular oncology unit.

RESULTS 11 of 31 (35%) patients had no known primary malignancy at the time of orbital diagnosis. In eight of 31 (26%) computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging data did not yield the diagnosis of metastases. In 15 of 17 (88%) cases a fine needle aspiration biopsy was diagnostic. Several types of therapy were used. The median survival was 1.3 years.

CONCLUSION Orbital metastases, even with newer diagnostic techniques can be difficult to diagnose. Management was based on location and extent of both orbital and systemic disease as well as vision. In most cases, orbital symptoms were palliated; however, survival was dismal. No clinical factor correlated with prognosis.

  • orbital metastasis
  • fine needle aspiration biopsy
  • imaging
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