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Optic nerve invasion of uveal melanoma.: Histopathological characterization and influence on prognosis

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Lindegaard J, Isager P, Prause JU, Heegaard S. Optic nerve invasion of uveal melanoma. Histopathological characterization and influence on prognosis. APMIS 2007;115:1–16.

The aim of the study was to identify the histopathological characteristics associated with the invasion of the optic nerve of uveal melanoma and to evaluate the association between invasion of the optic nerve and survival. In order to achieve this, all uveal melanomas with optic nerve invasion in Denmark between 1942 and 2001 were reviewed (n=157). Histopathological characteristics and depth of optic nerve invasion were recorded. The material was compared with a control material from the same period consisting of 85 cases randomly drawn from all choroidal/ciliary body melanomas without optic nerve invasion. Prelaminar/laminar optic nerve invasion was in multivariate analysis associated with focal retinal invasion, neovascularization of the chamber angle, and scleral invasion. Postlaminar invasion was further associated with non-spindle cell type and rupture of the inner limiting membrane of the retina. The optic nerve was invaded in four different ways: 1) by tumor extension from the neuroretina through the lamina cribrosa; 2) by direct extension into the optic nerve head between Bruch's membrane and the border tissue of Elschnig; 3) by direct invasion through the border tissue of Elschnig; and 4) in one case a tumor spread along the inner limiting membrane to the optic nerve through the lamina cribrosa. Invasion of the optic nerve had no impact on all-cause mortality or melanoma-related mortality in multivariate analyses. The majority of melanomas invading the optic nerve are large juxtapapillary tumors invading the optic nerve because of simple proximity to the nerve. A neurotropic subtype invades the optic nerve and retina in a diffuse fashion unrelated to tumor size or location.
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Keywords: Uveal melanoma; oncology; optic nerve; pathology; prognosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Eye Pathology Institute, University of Copenhagen,

Publication date: 01 January 2007

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