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Combined plaque radiotherapy and transpupillary thermotherapy in choroidal melanoma: 5 years’ experience
  1. Y M Bartlema1,2,
  2. J A Oosterhuis1,2,
  3. J G Journée-de Korver1,2,
  4. R E Tjho-Heslinga2,
  5. J E E Keunen1,2
  1. 1Ocular Oncology Service, Department of Ophthalmology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Radiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to: Jan E E Keunen, MD, PhD Ocular Oncology Service, Department of Ophthalmology, Leiden University Medical Centre, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands;


Aim: To evaluate the results of combined plaque radiotherapy and transpupillary thermotherapy (TTT) in 50 consecutive patients 5 years after treatment.

Methods: 50 adult patients with choroidal melanoma were treated with ruthenium-106 (106Ru) plaque radiotherapy combined with TTT. A flat scar was the preferred end point of treatment. The mean tumour thickness was 3.9 mm (range 1.5–8.0 mm), the mean tumour diameter was 11.3 mm (range 5.8–15.0 mm). TTT was performed with an infrared diode laser at 810 nm, a beam diameter of 2–3 mm, and 1 minute exposures. Tumours >5 mm thick received an episcleral contact dose of 800 Gy 106Ru; tumours ⩽5 mm thick received a contact dose of 600 Gy 106Ru. TTT was repeated in case of incomplete tumour regression after combined therapy.

Results: Complete tumour regression was obtained in 45 patients. It required one, two, or three TTT sessions in 32, 11, and two patients, respectively. In tumours ⩽3 mm thick complete flattening was achieved significantly faster than in tumours >3 mm thick (log rank test p = 0.01). Eight melanomas were amelanotic, seven of which required multiple TTT sessions. In one patient the tumour recurred at the central margin of the treated area; this eye was enucleated. In one patient the tumour failed to regress 6 months after treatment and enucleation was performed at the patient’s request. Three eyes developed severe proliferative retinopathy. Radiation maculopathy caused a loss of the best corrected visual acuity: before treatment 31 patients had a best corrected visual acuity of 20/60 or better but in only 12 patients did it remain in this range 5 years after treatment. Three patients developed distant metastasis to the liver.

Conclusion: The 5 year results for combined plaque radiotherapy and TTT as treatment for choroidal melanoma are favourable in terms of complete tumour regression and low rate of recurrences; however, there was considerable loss of visual acuity as a result of radiation maculopathy.

  • plaque radiotherapy
  • transpupillary thermotherapy
  • choroidal melanoma
  • enucleation

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