Background There has been a recent evolution in the management of uveal melanoma in regard to prognostic evaluation and treatment modalities. This study aims to evaluate the epidemiological trends of uveal melanoma since 1973 by using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Registry.
Methods A total of 7043 uveal melanoma cases from the SEER database were retrospectively analysed, spanning 1973 to 2009. The main outcome measures were disease specific and overall patient survival.
Results The mean patient age at diagnosis was 61.4 years, which has increased over the last 37 years. The mean follow-up interval was 85.9 months. The proportion of tumours demonstrating spindle cell histology has decreased. Spindle cell tumours yielded superior disease-specific survival to epithelioid and mixed tumours. The median age at diagnosis of spindle cell tumours (60 years) was significantly younger than epithelioid tumours (65 years) and mixed tumours (64 years old; p<0.0001). In a Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, tumour histology, T stage and age at diagnosis were associated with disease-specific survival. The prevalence of cutaneous melanoma was increased in patients with uveal melanoma, but the lifetime prevalence of other primary cancers was not appreciably increased.
Conclusions The SEER data set demonstrates epidemiological trends in patient age at diagnosis and tumour histology over the last 37 years. Several patient and tumour characteristics are predictors of disease-specific survival. These findings have implications for disease surveillance and prognostic counselling.
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