BACKGROUND/AIMS Uveal melanoma is the commonest malignancy of the eye, with a high proportion of patients dying of metastatic disease. Tumours showing a loss of chromosome 3 and gains of chromosome 8 are associated with a worse prognosis. The efficiency of fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) in determining copy numbers of these chromosomes was assessed in individual tumours and related to patient survival.
METHODS 33 fresh frozen samples were analysed with centromeric probes for chromosomes 3 and 8. Patient outcomes were divided into two groups: (1) absence of genetic abnormalities (no genetic imbalance) and (2) presence of genetic abnormalities (genetic imbalance). The log rank test was used to compare survival, which was represented by Kaplan-Meier survival curves.
RESULTS Of the 33 tumours analysed, 16 showed evidence of genetic imbalances. Of these 16 tumours, 14 patients had died by the end of the study, with 10 having died of liver metastases. Of the tumours without evidence of genetic imbalances, five patients had died by the end of the study, although none had died as a result of either liver metastases or from the primary uveal melanoma. The difference in survival between the two groups was highly significant (p<0.0001).
CONCLUSION The authors have shown that FISH analysis for chromosome 3 and 8 is a reliable and efficient technique in the analysis of fresh frozen tumour specimens and is valuable in the prediction of prognosis in individuals with uveal melanomas.
- uveal melanoma
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