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Ocular Melanoma

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Eye Cancers

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Latest Research Publications

This list of publications is regularly updated (Source: PubMed).

Zhao Y, Wang W, Min I, et al.
BRAF V600E-dependent role of autophagy in uveal melanoma.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2017; 143(3):447-455 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Autophagy can function in a dual role in cancer development and progression: It can be cytoprotective or contribute to cell death. Therefore, determining the contextual role of autophagy between these two opposing effects is important. So far, little is known about the role of autophagy in uveal melanoma. In the present study, we looked to investigate the autophagic process, as well as its effect on cell survival in uveal melanoma cell lines under stressed conditions (starvation). The possible role of autophagy during BRAF inhibition in uveal melanoma was also sought.
METHODS: Two human uveal melanoma cell lines, OCM1A, which harbors the BRAF mutation V600E and Mel 290, which is BRAF wild type, were studied. Autophagy levels were determined by Western blot assay with/without the addition of autophagic flux inhibitor (bafilomycin A1). Cell proliferation was assessed by an MTT assay.
RESULTS: Starvation triggered autophagy in BRAF V600E-mutant OCM1A cells but not in BRAF wild-type Mel 290 cells. Enhanced autophagy helped the OCM1A cells survive under stressed conditions. The BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib upregulated autophagy through suppression of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR/p70S6 K pathway in BRAF V600E-mutant uveal melanoma cells. Autophagy inhibition impaired the treatment efficacy of vemurafenib in BRAF V600E-mutant uveal melanoma cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that starvation-trigged autophagy, which is BRAF V600E dependent, promotes cancer cell survival in uveal melanoma. Vemurafenib induces autophagic cell death rather than adaptive cell survival in BRAF V600E-mutant melanoma.

Atkinson TM, Hay JL, Shoushtari A, et al.
Relationship between physician-adjudicated adverse events and patient-reported health-related quality of life in a phase II clinical trial (NCT01143402) of patients with metastatic uveal melanoma.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2017; 143(3):439-445 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2018 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Clinical trials commonly use physician-adjudicated adverse event (AE) assessment via the common terminology criteria for adverse events (CTCAE) for decision-making. Patient-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL) data are becoming more frequent in oncology; however, the relationship between physician-adjudicated AE assessment and HRQoL is understudied.
METHODS: Data from a phase II trial (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01143402) where patients with metastatic uveal melanoma were randomized to receive selumetinib, an oral MEK inhibitor, or chemotherapy were analyzed. Patients reported HRQoL at baseline, after 1 month, and end of treatment (n = 118), whereas physicians adjudicated AEs via CTCAE. Mean HRQoL scores were compared between patient randomization arms, as well as between those patients who did/did not receive dose modifications.
RESULTS: Ninety-four percent had a CTCAE grade ≥1 for at least one treatment-associated AE, with 18% undergoing dose modification due to toxicity. Mean HRQoL scores did not significantly differ at each of the three time points. Patient and physician-adjudicated reports of nausea were significantly correlated at the start (r = 0.31, p < 0.01) and end of treatment (r = 0.42, p < 0.05). There were no significant correlations between need for dose modification and HRQoL scores.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the high rate of physician-adjudicated AEs and need for dose modifications with selumetinib, patient-reported HRQoL was not impacted by treatment. Since HRQoL did not differ in the subgroup of patients who received dosage reductions due to AEs, patients may be willing to tolerate select AEs without dose modification (if medically appropriate). More research is needed to determine how to best integrate HRQoL data into clinical trial conduct.

Yan F, Liao R, Farhan M, et al.
Elucidating the role of the FoxO3a transcription factor in the IGF-1-induced migration and invasion of uveal melanoma cancer cells.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 84:1538-1550 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common primary intraocular malignant tumor of adults. It has high mortality rate due to liver metastasis. However, the epidemiology and pathogenesis of liver metastasis in UM are not elucidated and there is no effective therapy available for preventing the development of this disease. IGF-1 is a growth factor involved in cell proliferation, malignant transformation and inhibition of apoptosis. In previous report, IGF-1 receptor was found to be highly expressed in UM and this was related to tumor prognosis. FoxO3a is a Forkhead box O (FOXO) transcription factor and a downstream target of the IGF-1R/PI3K/Akt pathway involved in a number of physiological and pathological processes including cancer. However, the role of FoxO3a in UM is unknown. In the present study, we investigated fundamental mechanisms in the growth, migration and invasion of UM and the involvement of FoxO3a. IGF-1 increased the cell viability, invasion, migration and S-G2/M cell cycle phase accumulation of UM cells. Western blot analysis showed that IGF-1 led to activation of Akt and concomitant phosphorylation of FoxO3a. FoxO3a phosphorylation was associated with its translocation into the cytoplasm from the nucleus and its functional inhibition led to the inhibition of expression of Bim and p27, but an increase in the expression of Cyclin D1. The effects of IGF-1 on UM cells were reversed by LY294002 (a PI3K inhibitor) or Akt siRNA, and the overexpression of FoxO3a also attenuated basal invasion and migration of UM. Taken all together, these results suggest that inhibition of FoxO3a by IGF-1 via the PI3K/Akt pathway has an important role in IGF-1 induced proliferation and invasion of UM cells. These findings also support FoxO3a and IGF signaling may represent a valid target for investigating the development of new strategies for the treatment and prevention of the pathology of UM.

Cheng G, He J, Zhang L, et al.
HIC1 modulates uveal melanoma progression by activating lncRNA-numb.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(9):12779-12789 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common primary intraocular cancer in adults. Although the diagnosis modality of primary UM was improved significantly, there are currently no effective therapies for metastatic UM. Hypermethylated in cancer 1 (HIC1) is frequently deleted or epigenetically silenced in various human cancers. However, the role and mechanism of HIC1 in UM is still unclear. In this study, we found that HIC1 acted as a tumor suppressor and that its expression was downregulated in UM. Functional studies demonstrated that ectopic expression of HIC1 in UM cells inhibited cell proliferation and invasion. Moreover, through long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) microarray and real-time PCR, we found that expression of lncRNA-numb was activated by HIC1 in UM. The results provide evidence that lncRNA-numb is a newly proposed tumor suppressor that is involved in HIC1-induced phenotypes. Taken together, our studies of UM reveal a critical role of HIC1 in the regulation of tumorigenesis, at least partly through its downstream target, lncRNA-numb, and provide a potential therapeutic target for UM.

Lemaître S, Lévy-Gabriel C, Desjardins L, et al.
Choroidal melanoma and pregnancy.
Acta Ophthalmol. 2016; 94(7):e652-e660 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Choroidal melanoma is a rare tumour in adults. The mean age at diagnosis is 60, but the tumour can affect women of childbearing age. A negative effect of pregnancy on patients' survival has not been formally excluded to date. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the effect of pregnancy on the prognosis of choroidal melanoma.
METHODS: We conducted a single-centre retrospective study at the Institut Curie on the population of women of childbearing age who were diagnosed with choroidal melanoma between June 1980 and October 2013. We took a particular interest in the prognosis of those who were pregnant at the time of diagnosis and in the prognosis of those who chose to get pregnant after the treatment.
RESULTS: We found 27 pregnant patients at the time of diagnosis and 13 patients who became pregnant after the treatment. There was no difference in the survival between these two groups of patients and the group of other women of childbearing age diagnosed with choroidal melanoma (p = 0.52). There was also no difference in metastasis-free survival (p = 0.91). Most women were able to carry their pregnancies to term (67% had a term pregnancy, and only 7% had an abortion). For women who were pregnant when they were diagnosed with choroidal melanoma, a conservative treatment was chosen in 85% of cases, and proton beam therapy was the most widely used treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Survival in women of childbearing age does not appear to be influenced by pregnancy. We show that proton beam therapy can be used to treat women who are pregnant at the time of choroidal melanoma diagnosis.

Francis JH, Levin AM, Abramson DH
Update on Ophthalmic Oncology 2014: Retinoblastoma and Uveal Melanoma.
Asia Pac J Ophthalmol (Phila). 2016 Sep-Oct; 5(5):368-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to review peer-reviewed articles on ophthalmic oncology (specifically retinoblastoma and uveal melanoma) published from January to December 2014.
DESIGN: This study is a literature review.
METHODS: The terms retinoblastoma and uveal melanoma were used in a MEDLINE literature search. Abstracts were studied, and the most relevant articles were selected for inclusion and further in-depth review.
RESULTS: In retinoblastoma, more eyes are being salvaged due to intravitreal melphalan. The year 2014 marks a deepening in our understanding of the biological basis of the disease and the cell of origin. Knowledge on the genetic underpinnings of uveal melanoma has broadened to include other pathways, interactions, and potential therapeutic targets.
CONCLUSIONS: In 2014, there were valuable advancements in our knowledge of retinoblastoma and uveal melanoma. Some of these resulted in improved patient management.

Furdova A, Horkovicova K, Justusova P, Sramka M
Is it sufficient to repeat LINEAR accelerator stereotactic radiosurgery in choroidal melanoma?
Bratisl Lek Listy. 2016; 117(8):456-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: One day session LINAC based stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) at LINAC accelerator is a method of "conservative" attitude to treat the intraocular malignant uveal melanoma.
METHODS: We used model Clinac 600 C/D Varian (system Aria, planning system Corvus version 6.2 verification IMRT OmniPro) with 6 MeV X by rigid immobilization of the eye to the Leibinger frame. The stereotactic treatment planning after fusion of CT and MRI was optimized according to the critical structures (lens, optic nerve, also lens and optic nerve at the contralateral side, chiasm). The first plan was compared and the best plan was applied for therapy at C LINAC accelerator. The planned therapeutic dose was 35.0 Gy by 99 % of DVH (dose volume histogram).
RESULTS: In our clinical study in the group of 125 patients with posterior uveal melanoma treated with SRS, in 2 patients (1.6 %) was repeated SRS indicated. Patient age of the whole group ranged from 25 to 81 years with a median of 54 TD was 35.0 Gy. In 2 patients after 5 year interval after stereotactic radiosurgery for uveal melanoma stage T1, the tumor volume increased to 50 % of the primary tumor volume and repeated SRS was necessary.
CONCLUSION: To find out the changes in melanoma characteristics after SRS in long term interval after irradiation is necessary to follow up the patient by an ophthalmologist regularly. One step LINAC based stereotactic radiosurgery with a single dose 35.0 Gy is one of treatment options to treat T1 to T3 stage posterior uveal melanoma and to preserve the eye globe. In some cases it is possible to repeat the SRS after more than 5 year interval (Fig. 8, Ref. 23).

Pan H, Ni H, Zhang L, et al.
P2RX7-V3 is a novel oncogene that promotes tumorigenesis in uveal melanoma.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(10):13533-13543 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma (UM) has a high mortality rate for primary intraocular tumors. Approximately half of UM patients present with untreatable and fatal metastases. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have emerged as potent regulatory RNAs that play key roles in various cellular processes and tumorigenesis. However, to date, their roles in UM are not well-known. Here, we identified a transcriptional variant transcribed from the P2RX7 gene locus, named P2RX7-V3 (P2RX7 variant 3), which was expressed at a high level in UM cells. P2RX7-V3 silencing revealed that this variant acts as a necessary UM oncoRNA. Knockdown of P2RX7-V3 expression significantly suppressed tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. A genome-wide cDNA array revealed that a variety of genes were dysregulated following P2RX7-V3 silencing. These observations identified P2RX7-V3 that plays a crucial role in UM tumorigenesis and may serve as a useful biomarker in the diagnosis and prognosis treatment of UM in the future.

Nalcaci S, Palamar M, Yaman B, et al.
Choroidal malignant melanoma with no extraocular extension presenting as orbital cellulitis.
Orbit. 2016; 35(5):285-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
This report describes a patient with choroidal malignant melanoma presenting as orbital cellulitis without extraocular tumor extension. It is an interventional case report with histopathologic correlation. A 68-year-old male presented with a 3-day history of painful hyperemia and swelling in the right eye. The examination showed edematous eyelids, mechanical ptosis and chemosis with conjunctival injection. B-scan ultrasonography showed a mass with medium level echogenicity that filled the vitreous cavity. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a solid choroidal mass with hemorrhagic and inflammatory changes with no obvious extraocular extension. Due to these suggestive findings of choroidal melanoma the right eye was enucleated. A spindle cell choroidal melanoma including intense pigmentation and necrosis was confirmed by histopathological examination. Although rare; choroidal melanoma may present as orbital cellulitis, particularly when the tumor is necrotic.

Triozzi PL, Achberger S, Aldrich W, et al.
Association of tumor and plasma microRNA expression with tumor monosomy-3 in patients with uveal melanoma.
Clin Epigenetics. 2016; 8:80 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2018 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Epigenetic events mediated by methylation and histone modifications have been associated with the development of metastasis in patients with uveal melanoma. The role of epigenetic events mediated by microRNA (miR) is less clear. Tumor and plasma miR expression was examined in patients with primary uveal melanoma with tumor monosomy-3, a predictor of metastasis.
RESULTS: miR profiling of tumors by microarray found six miRs over-expressed and 19 under-expressed in 33 tumors with monosomy-3 compared to 22 without. None of the miRs differentially expressed in tumors with and without monosomy-3 was differentially expressed in tumors with and without tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. Tumors manifesting monosomy-3 were also characterized by higher levels of TARBP2 and DDX17 and by lower levels of XPO5 and HIWI, miR biogenesis factors. miR profiling of plasma by a quantitative nuclease protection assay found elevated levels of 11 miRs and reduction in four in patients with tumor monosomy-3. Only three miRs differentially expressed in the tumor arrays were detectable in plasma. miRs implicated in uveal melanoma development were not differentially expressed. Elevated plasma levels in patients with tumor monosomy-3 of miR-92b, identified in the tumor array, and of miR-199-5p and miR-223, identified in the plasma array, were confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Levels were also higher in patients compared to normal controls.
CONCLUSIONS: These results support a role for epigenetic mechanisms in the development of metastasis in patients with uveal melanoma and the analysis of miRs as biomarkers of metastatic risk. They also suggest that potentially useful blood miRs may be derived from the host response as well as the tumor.

Stei MM, Loeffler KU, Holz FG, Herwig MC
Animal Models of Uveal Melanoma: Methods, Applicability, and Limitations.
Biomed Res Int. 2016; 2016:4521807 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2018 Related Publications
Animal models serve as powerful tools for investigating the pathobiology of cancer, identifying relevant pathways, and developing novel therapeutic agents. They have facilitated rapid scientific progress in many tumor entities. However, for establishing a powerful animal model of uveal melanoma fundamental challenges remain. To date, no animal model offers specific genetic attributes as well as histologic, immunologic, and metastatic features of uveal melanoma. Syngeneic models with intraocular injection of cutaneous melanoma cells may suit best for investigating immunologic/tumor biology aspects. However, differences between cutaneous and uveal melanoma regarding genetics and metastasis remain problematic. Human xenograft models are widely used for evaluating novel therapeutics but require immunosuppression to allow tumor growth. New approaches aim to establish transgenic mouse models of spontaneous uveal melanoma which recently provided preliminary promising results. Each model provides certain benefits and may render them suitable for answering a respective scientific question. However, all existing models also exhibit relevant limitations which may have led to delayed research progress. Despite refined therapeutic options for the primary ocular tumor, patients' prognosis has not improved since the 1970s. Basic research needs to further focus on a refinement of a potent animal model which mimics uveal melanoma specific mechanisms of progression and metastasis. This review will summarise and interpret existing animal models of uveal melanoma including recent advances in the field.

Fea AM, Briamonte C, Aragno V, Grignolo FM
Vascularized solid iris lesion in a 3 year old child: 5 years of follow up.
BMC Ophthalmol. 2016; 16:89 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2018 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Iris tumors are rare in young patients. When an iris lesion occurs in a pediatric patient, it can be difficult to classify because of the wide spectrum of iris proliferations.
CASE PRESENTATION: We report on an unusual case of a vascularized iris lesion in a three year old Caucasian patient, with no symptoms and no visual impairment. We evaluated in a 50-month follow up with non-invasive diagnostic tools in order to avoid eye biopsy.
CONCLUSION: We focused attention on the differential diagnoses and underlined the role of non-invasive diagnostic tools in a child to avoid or postpone the eye biopsy. We performed a review of the literature to identify the best medical practice in pediatric iris lesions with atypical characteristics.

Lüke J, Vukoja V, Brandenbusch T, et al.
CD147 and matrix-metalloproteinase-2 expression in metastatic and non-metastatic uveal melanomas.
BMC Ophthalmol. 2016; 16:74 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2018 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Extracellular matrix remodelling regulated by matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP) inducer (CD147) is a crucial process during tumor cell invasion and regulation of blood supply. In this study, we evaluated the correlation of CD147 and MMP-2 expression with major prognostic factors for uveal melanoma and the development of metastasis.
METHODS: The expression of CD147 and MMP-2 was analyzed in 49 samples of uveal melanomas. Triple immunofluorescence stainings using markers against glial cells (GFAP), endothelial cells (CD34) and macrophages (CD68) were performed to further analyse the exact localisation of CD147 and MMP-2 positivity. In 28 cases clinical metastatic disease were found. The remaining 21 cases showed no signs of metastatic disease for an average follow-up of 10 years. Correlation analysis (Pearson correlation) was performed to analyse the association of CD147 and MMP-2 expression with known prognostic factors, vasculogenic mimicry (VM), the mature vasculature (von Willebrand Factor) and tumor induced angiogenesis (by means of Endoglin expression).
RESULTS: CD147 and MMP-2 were expressed in 47 (96.0 %) of the uveal melanomas. CD147 up-regulation was significantly correlated with a higher MMP-2 expression. The overall expression analysis revealed no significant difference in the metastatic (p = 0.777) and non-metastatic subgroup (p = 0.585). No correlation of CD147 expression and any system of blood supply was evident. In the non-metastatic sub-group a significant correlation of clustered CD147 positive cells with largest basal diameter (p = 0.039), height (p = 0.047) and TNM-stage (p = 0.013) was evident.
CONCLUSIONS: These data may indicate that CD147 regulates MMP-2 expression in uveal melanoma cells.

Larsen AC
Conjunctival malignant melanoma in Denmark: epidemiology, treatment and prognosis with special emphasis on tumorigenesis and genetic profile.
Acta Ophthalmol. 2016; 94 Thesis 1:1-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
Conjunctival malignant melanoma is a rare disease associated with considerable mortality. Most published data have been based on case reports or series of referred patients. In addition, very little is known about the genetic and epigenetic profile of conjunctival melanoma and the resemblance to uveal, cutaneous and mucosal melanoma. The aim was to determine the incidence rate of conjunctival melanoma, and to relate clinicopathological features and treatment to prognosis. A further aim was to determine the prevalence of BRAF mutations in conjunctival melanoma, to determine whether BRAF mutations are early events in pathogenesis, and relate clinicopathological features and prognosis to BRAF-mutation status. Finally, we wanted to identify tumour-specific and prognostic microRNAs in conjunctival melanoma, and to compare these with the microRNA expression of other melanoma subtypes. In order to investigate these rare tumours, we studied all the conjunctival melanomas that had been surgically removed in Denmark over a period of 52 years (1960-2012). Tissue samples, clinical files, pathology reports and follow-up data were collected and re-evaluated. Using droplet digital polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry, we investigated BRAF mutations; and using microRNA expression profiling, we investigated differentially expressed microRNAs. The overall incidence of conjunctival melanoma was 0.5/1 000 000/year, and it increased in Denmark over 52 years. The increase was mainly caused by an increase in older patients (>65 years) and bulbar lesions. Clinicopathological features significantly associated with a poor prognosis were extrabulbar location, involvement of adjacent tissue structures, tumour thickness exceeding 2 mm and local tumour recurrence. Patients undergoing incisional biopsy and/or treatment involving excision without adjuvant therapy fared worse than patients treated with excision and any type of adjuvant treatment. We found that 35% (39/110) of conjunctival melanomas were BRAF-mutated, and the incidence of BRAF mutations was constant over time. BRAF-mutation status corresponded in conjunctival melanoma and paired premalignant lesions. BRAF mutations were more frequent in males, in young patients, and in tumours with a sun-exposed tumour location (bulbar conjunctiva or caruncle), with a mixed or non-pigmented colour, with absence of primary acquired melanosis, and with origin in a nevus. Immunohistochemistry was able to accurately detect BRAF V600E mutations. In univariate analysis, distant metastatic disease was associated with BRAF mutations. No prognostic associations with BRAF mutations were identified in multivariate analyses. MicroRNA expression analysis revealed 25 tumour-specific microRNAs in conjunctival melanoma. Five possibly oncogenic miRNAs (miR-20b-5p, miR-146b-5p, miR-146a-5p, miR-506-3p and miR-509-3p) were up-regulated. Seven microRNAs (miR-30d-5p, miR-138-5p, miR-146a-5p, miR-500a-5p, miR-501-3p, miR-501-5p and miR-502-3p) were significantly and simultaneously up-regulated in both stage T1 and stage T2 tumours, and were associated with increased tumour thickness. The expression of the 25 tumour-specific microRNAs did not differ significantly between conjunctival melanoma and oral or nasal mucosal melanoma. In conclusion, the incidence of conjunctival melanoma increased in the Danish population from 1960 to 2012. From our findings of a distinct pattern of BRAF mutations and differentially expressed microRNAs, it is evident that conjunctival melanoma is closely related to cutaneous and other mucosal melanomas and bears less resemblance to uveal melanomas. This means that conjunctival melanoma patients may benefit from therapies that are effective for cutaneous and mucosal melanoma. Additionally, the identification of several up-regulated microRNAs may prove to be useful as prognostic or therapeutic targets in conjunctival melanoma.

Zhang Y, Song H, Guo T, et al.
Overexpression of Annexin II Receptor-Induced Autophagy Protects Against Apoptosis in Uveal Melanoma Cells.
Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2016; 31(4):145-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma is the most common primary malignant intraocular tumor in adults and still lacks effective systemic therapies. Annexin A2 receptor (AXIIR), a receptor for Annexin II, was demonstrated to play an important role in multiple cells, but its role in uveal melanoma cells remains exclusive. Herein, the authors reported that overexpression of AXIIR was able to reduce cell viability and activate apoptosis apparently in the Mum2C uveal melanoma cell line. Meanwhile, overexpression of AXIIR could induce autophagy and increase autophagy flux. After autophagy was inhibited by chloroquine, enhanced apoptosis and cytotoxicity could be detected. In summary, these data highlighted the crucial role of AXIIR in reducing Mum2C cell viability through inducing apoptosis, while autophagy played a protective role in this process. Interference of this gene may be a promising method for uveal melanoma therapy and combination with specific inhibitor of autophagy may serve as a supplementary.

Balasubramanya R, Selvarajan SK, Cox M, et al.
Imaging of ocular melanoma metastasis.
Br J Radiol. 2016; 89(1065):20160092 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2017 Related Publications
Ocular melanoma is the most common adult primary intraocular tumour. Although <1% of patients have metastatic disease at the time of initial diagnosis, most will develop metastasis at varying lengths of time. Metastasis surveillance is therefore critical in the follow-up of patients with ocular melanoma. Liver is the most common site of metastasis and prognosis is based on the treatment of liver metastasis. Hence, imaging of liver metastasis is vital. MRI is the most specific modality for imaging liver metastasis and is at least as sensitive as CT. Extrahepatic metastasis such as retroperitoneal nodules and bone metastases are also better evaluated on MRI. Gadolinium-based contrast agents are extremely helpful for detecting liver lesions. In particular, newer hepatobiliary contrast agents which offer an additional hepatobiliary phase of excretion help in the detection of even tiny liver metastases. Diffusion-weighted imaging is helpful when an i.v. contrast cannot be administered. Treated lesions are also better evaluated with MRI. CT is useful for evaluating lung nodules, large liver metastasis or in patients in whom MRI is medically contraindicated. The disadvantage lies in its inability to detect small liver metastasis and the radiation dose involved. The lesions treated with iodized oil as part of chemoembolization procedures can be followed on CT. Ultrasound can be used only for detecting hepatic metastases. However, it is heavily operator dependent, technically challenging and time consuming especially in patients who are large. Extrahepatic metastasis cannot be seen on ultrasound. Its utility is primarily for the biopsy of liver lesions. Positron emission tomography (PET)-CT can detect lung nodules and large liver lesions but is insensitive to small liver lesions. Moreover, the high radiation dose is a major disadvantage.

Nichols EE, Richmond A, Daniels AB
Tumor Characteristics, Genetics, Management, and the Risk of Metastasis in Uveal Melanoma.
Semin Ophthalmol. 2016; 31(4):304-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma is the most common intraocular malignancy in adults. Although rates of local control for uveal melanoma exceed 95% with radiotherapy or enucleation, as many as 50% of patients develop hematogenous metastases, which manifest in the decades following initial diagnosis and are uniformly and rapidly fatal. Recent compelling evidence suggests that not all uveal melanomas are themselves equivalent with respect to metastatic potential and patient survival. This review focuses on the mounting evidence of survival disparities based on intrinsic tumor clinical and histopathologic characteristics and based on tumor genetics and gene expression profiles.

Nichols EE, Richmond A, Daniels AB
Disparities in Uveal Melanoma: Patient Characteristics.
Semin Ophthalmol. 2016; 31(4):296-303 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma is the most common intraocular malignancy in adults. Despite excellent rates of local control, half of all patients with uveal melanoma ultimately go on to develop fatal metastatic disease. This review focuses on disparities and differences in the underlying characteristics of the patients, and how these patient characteristics impact the development of metastasis and subsequent patient survival. Specifically, we detail disparities in epidemiology and risk factors as they relate to the development of primary uveal melanoma, to the development of metastasis, and to patient survival following metastasis.

Yavuzyigitoglu S, Mensink HW, Smit KN, et al.
Metastatic Disease in Polyploid Uveal Melanoma Patients Is Associated With BAP1 Mutations.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016; 57(4):2232-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Most of the uvea melanoma (UM) display a near-diploid (normal, -2N) karyotype with only a few chromosomal changes. In contrast to these simple aberrations 18% of the UM samples show a polyploid character (>2N) and this was associated with an unfavorable prognosis. This study attempts to gain insight in the prognostic value of polyploidy in UM.
METHODS: In 202 patients the ploidy status of the UM was determined using cytogenetic analysis, fluorescence-in-situ-hybridization (FISH), multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification (MLPA), and/or single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array analysis. Immunohistochemistry was used to determine the BAP1 expression and mutation analyses of BAP1 (coding regions) and the mutation hotspots for the SF3B1, EIF1AX, GNAQ, and GNA11 genes was carried out using Sanger sequencing or whole-exome sequencing.
RESULTS: Twenty-three patients had a polyploid UM karyotype (11.4%). Patients with a polyploid tumor had larger tumors (15.61 vs. 13.13 mm, P = 0.004), and more often loss of heterozygosity of chromosome 3 (P = 0.003). No difference in occurrence of mutations between polyploid and diploid tumors was observed for BAP1, SF3B1, EIF1AX, GNAQ, and GNA11. Polyploidy did not affect survival (P = 0.143). BAP1 deficiency was the only significant independent prognostic predictor for patients with polyploid tumors, with a 16-fold increased hazard ratio (HR 15.90, P = 0.009).
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of mutations in the UM related genes is not different in polyploid UM compared with diploid UM. Moreover, similar to patients with diploid UM, BAP1 mutation is the most significant prognostic predictor of metastasis in patients with polyploid UM.

Maacha S, Anezo O, Foy M, et al.
Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase 4A3 (PTP4A3) Promotes Human Uveal Melanoma Aggressiveness Through Membrane Accumulation of Matrix Metalloproteinase 14 (MMP14).
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016; 57(4):1982-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To study PTP4A3 phosphatase and MMP14 metalloprotease synergy in uveal melanoma aggressiveness.
METHODS: Cell membrane localization of matrix metalloprotease 14 (MMP14) in uveal melanoma cells expressing protein tyrosine phosphatase A3 (PTP4A3) was assessed by flow cytometry or immunohistochemistry. The vesicular trafficking of MMP14 in the presence of PTP4A3 was evaluated in OCM-1 cells expressing either the wild-type or mutated phosphatase. Finally, MMP14 localization at the cell membrane of OCM-1 cells was impaired using RNA interference, and the PTP4A3-related migration in vitro and invasiveness in vivo of the treated cells were evaluated.
RESULTS: We found that the membrane-anchored MMP14 is enriched at the cell surface of OCM-1 cells, patient-derived xenograft cells, and human primary uveal melanoma tumors expressing PTP4A3. Moreover, we show that PTP4A3 and MMP14 colocalize and that the vesicular trafficking of MMP14 is faster in the presence of active PTP4A3. Finally, we demonstrate that inhibition of MMP14 expression in uveal melanoma cells expressing PTP4A3 impairs their migration in vitro and invasiveness in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS: Our observations indicate that PTP4A3 increases cell membrane accumulation of MMP14 as a result of increased cellular trafficking of the metalloprotease. We also show that downregulation of MMP14 expression reduced PTP4A3-induced cell migration and invasiveness. Taken together, our findings suggest that PTP4A3-related subcellular localization of MMP14 is an important event in metastasis induction.

Hartsell WF, Kapur R, Hartsell SO, et al.
Feasibility of Proton Beam Therapy for Ocular Melanoma Using a Novel 3D Treatment Planning Technique.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2016; 95(1):353-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: We evaluated sparing of normal structures using 3-dimensional (3D) treatment planning for proton therapy of ocular melanomas.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: We evaluated 26 consecutive patients with choroidal melanomas on a prospective registry. Ophthalmologic work-up included fundoscopic photographs, fluorescein angiography, ultrasonographic evaluation of tumor dimensions, and magnetic resonance imaging of orbits. Three tantalum clips were placed as fiducial markers to confirm eye position for treatment. Macula, fovea, optic disc, optic nerve, ciliary body, lacrimal gland, lens, and gross tumor volume were contoured on treatment planning compute tomography scans. 3D treatment planning was performed using noncoplanar field arrangements. Patients were typically treated with 3 fields, with at least 95% of planning target volume receiving 50 GyRBE in 5 fractions.
RESULTS: Tumor stage was T1a in 10 patients, T2a in 10 patients, T2b in 1 patient, T3a in 2 patients, T3b in 1 patient, and T4a in 2 patients. Acute toxicity was mild. All patients completed treatment as planned. Mean optic nerve dose was 10.1 Gy relative biological effectiveness (RBE). Ciliary body doses were higher for nasal (mean: 11.4 GyRBE) than temporal tumors (5.8 GyRBE). Median follow-up was 31 months (range: 18-40 months). Six patients developed changes which required intraocular bevacizumab or corticosteroid therapy, but only 1 patient developed neovascular glaucoma. Five patients have since died: 1 from metastatic disease and 4 from other causes. Two patients have since required enucleation: 1 due to tumor and 1 due to neovascular glaucoma.
CONCLUSIONS: 3D treatment planning can be used to obtain appropriate coverage of choroidal melanomas. This technique is feasible with relatively low doses to anterior structures, and appears to have acceptable rates of local control with low risk of enucleation. Further evaluation and follow-up is needed to determine optimal dose-volume relationships for organs at risk to decrease complications rates.

Hrbacek J, Mishra KK, Kacperek A, et al.
Practice Patterns Analysis of Ocular Proton Therapy Centers: The International OPTIC Survey.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2016; 95(1):336-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To assess the planning, treatment, and follow-up strategies worldwide in dedicated proton therapy ocular programs.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Ten centers from 7 countries completed a questionnaire survey with 109 queries on the eye treatment planning system (TPS), hardware/software equipment, image acquisition/registration, patient positioning, eye surveillance, beam delivery, quality assurance (QA), clinical management, and workflow.
RESULTS: Worldwide, 28,891 eye patients were treated with protons at the 10 centers as of the end of 2014. Most centers treated a vast number of ocular patients (1729 to 6369). Three centers treated fewer than 200 ocular patients. Most commonly, the centers treated uveal melanoma (UM) and other primary ocular malignancies, benign ocular tumors, conjunctival lesions, choroidal metastases, and retinoblastomas. The UM dose fractionation was generally within a standard range, whereas dosing for other ocular conditions was not standardized. The majority (80%) of centers used in common a specific ocular TPS. Variability existed in imaging registration, with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) rarely being used in routine planning (20%). Increased patient to full-time equivalent ratios were observed by higher accruing centers (P=.0161). Generally, ophthalmologists followed up the post-radiation therapy patients, though in 40% of centers radiation oncologists also followed up the patients. Seven centers had a prospective outcomes database. All centers used a cyclotron to accelerate protons with dedicated horizontal beam lines only. QA checks (range, modulation) varied substantially across centers.
CONCLUSIONS: The first worldwide multi-institutional ophthalmic proton therapy survey of the clinical and technical approach shows areas of substantial overlap and areas of progress needed to achieve sustainable and systematic management. Future international efforts include research and development for imaging and planning software upgrades, increased use of MRI, development of clinical protocols, systematic patient-centered data acquisition, and publishing guidelines on QA, staffing, treatment, and follow-up parameters by dedicated ocular programs to ensure the highest level of care for ocular patients.

Thariat J, Grange JD, Mosci C, et al.
Visual Outcomes of Parapapillary Uveal Melanomas Following Proton Beam Therapy.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2016; 95(1):328-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: In parapapillary melanoma patients, radiation-induced optic complications are frequent and visual acuity is often compromised. We investigated dose-effect relationships for the optic nerve with respect to visual acuity after proton therapy.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Of 5205 patients treated between 1991 and 2014, those treated using computed tomography (CT)-based planning to 52 Gy (prescribed dose, not accounting for relative biologic effectiveness correction of 1.1) in 4 fractions, with minimal 6-month follow-up and documented initial and last visual acuity, were included. Deterioration of ≥0.3 logMAR between initial and last visual acuity results was reported.
RESULTS: A total of 865 consecutive patients were included. Median follow-up was 69 months, mean age was 61.7 years, tumor abutted the papilla in 35.1% of patients, and tumor-to-fovea distance was ≤3 mm in 74.2% of patients. Five-year relapse-free survival rate was 92.7%. Visual acuity was ≥20/200 in 72.6% of patients initially and 47.2% at last follow-up. A wedge filter was used in 47.8% of the patients, with a positive impact on vision and no impact on relapse. Glaucoma, radiation-induced optic neuropathy, maculopathy were reported in 17.9%, 47.5%, and 33.6% of patients, respectively. On multivariate analysis, age, diabetes, thickness, initial visual acuity and percentage of macula receiving 26 Gy were predictive of visual acuity. Furthermore, patients irradiated to ≥80% of their papilla had better visual acuity when limiting the 50% (30-Gy) and 20% (12-Gy) isodoses to ≤2 mm and 6 mm of optic nerve length, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: A personalized proton therapy plan with optic nerve and macular sparing can be used efficiently with good oncological and functional results in parapapillary melanoma patients.

Zhang MM, Papakostas TD, Malcolm AW, et al.
Multiple simultaneous choroidal melanomas arising in the same eye: globe salvage by radiotherapy.
Acta Ophthalmol. 2016; 94(8):e799-e802 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Multiple choroidal melanomas arising in the same eye is a very rare entity, usually leading ophthalmologists to entertain other diagnoses. Historically, the only available treatment reported for this rare entity was enucleation. In this study we demonstrate in a series of patients with multiple simultaneous choroidal melanomas that eye salvage is possible using a variety of radiotherapy techniques.
OBSERVATIONS: Both patients presented with two simultaneous choroidal melanomas in one eye. The first patient was only 30 years old and presented with two largely amelanotic tumours with large exudative retinal detachment. Cytology from fine needle aspiration biopsies from both tumours with immunohistochemistry confirmed two separate melanomas. Sequential radioactive iodine plaque brachytherapy led to regression of both tumours. The second, older patient's two tumours both had the typical appearance of choroidal melanoma and he underwent proton beam irradiation to the entire field leading to tumour regression.
CONCLUSIONS: Multiple choroidal melanomas can rarely arise simultaneously in the same eye, and despite their variable appearance, a definitive diagnosis can be aided by cytology and immunohistochemistry in atypical-appearing cases. While all other previously reported cases have necessitated enucleation, we demonstrate that globe salvage is possible using either proton beam irradiation to the entire tumour field, or with sequential radioactive plaque brachytherapy.

Ayturk UM, Couto JA, Hann S, et al.
Somatic Activating Mutations in GNAQ and GNA11 Are Associated with Congenital Hemangioma.
Am J Hum Genet. 2016; 98(4):789-95 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2017 Related Publications
Congenital hemangioma is a rare vascular tumor that forms in utero. Postnatally, the tumor either involutes quickly (i.e., rapidly involuting congenital hemangioma [RICH]) or partially regresses and stabilizes (i.e., non-involuting congenital hemangioma [NICH]). We hypothesized that congenital hemangiomas arise due to somatic mutation and performed massively parallel mRNA sequencing on affected tissue from eight participants. We identified mutually exclusive, mosaic missense mutations that alter glutamine at amino acid 209 (Glu209) in GNAQ or GNA11 in all tested samples, at variant allele frequencies (VAF) ranging from 3% to 33%. We verified the presence of the mutations in genomic DNA using a combination of molecular inversion probe sequencing (MIP-seq) and digital droplet PCR (ddPCR). The Glu209 GNAQ and GNA11 missense variants we identified are common in uveal melanoma and have been shown to constitutively activate MAPK and/or YAP signaling. When we screened additional archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) congenital cutaneous and hepatic hemangiomas, 4/8 had GNAQ or GNA11 Glu209 variants. The same GNAQ or GNA11 mutation is found in both NICH and RICH, so other factors must account for these tumors' different postnatal behaviors.

Kheir WJ, Tetzlaff MT, Pfeiffer ML, et al.
Epithelial, non-melanocytic and melanocytic proliferations of the ocular surface.
Semin Diagn Pathol. 2016; 33(3):122-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ocular surface tumors are commonly encountered by ophthalmologists and ophthalmic pathologists. These tumors have varied clinical manifestations. In this article, we discuss the most commonly encountered non-melanocytic and melanocytic ocular surface tumors, with emphasis on their common clinical features, morphologic patterns, and prognostic factors.

Larsen AC, Dahl C, Dahmcke CM, et al.
BRAF mutations in conjunctival melanoma: investigation of incidence, clinicopathological features, prognosis and paired premalignant lesions.
Acta Ophthalmol. 2016; 94(5):463-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate incidence, clinicopathological features and prognosis of BRAF-mutated conjunctival melanoma in Denmark. Furthermore, to determine BRAF mutations in paired premalignant lesions and evaluate immunohistochemical BRAF V600E oncoprotein detection.
METHODS: Data from 139 patients with conjunctival melanoma (1960-2012) were collected. Archived conjunctival melanoma samples and premalignant lesions were analysed for BRAF mutations using droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results were associated with clinicopathological features and compared with BRAF V600E oncoprotein stainings.
RESULTS: The overall incidence of conjunctival melanoma (0.5 cases/1 000 000/year) increased during the study period with 0.13 cases/1 000 000/10 years. The increase comprised a higher proportion of patients aged >65 years, epibulbar tumours and tumours developed from a primary acquired melanosis with atypia. BRAF mutations were identified in 39 of 111 (35%) cases. The rate ratio of BRAF-mutated versus BRAF-wild-type melanoma did not change over time. BRAF mutations were associated with T1 stage (p = 0.007), young age (p = 0.001), male gender (p = 0.02), sun-exposed location (p = 0.01), mixed/non-pigmented tumour colour (p = 0.02) and nevus origin (p = 0.005), but did not associate with prognosis. BRAF status in conjunctival melanoma and paired premalignant lesions corresponded in 19 of 20 cases. Immunohistochemistry detected BRAF V600E mutations with a sensitivity of 0.94 and a specificity of 1.00 in newer conjunctival melanoma samples (2000-2012, n = 47).
CONCLUSION: The incidence of conjunctival melanoma increased in Denmark over 50 years. The proportion of BRAF-mutated conjunctival melanoma was constant. BRAF mutations were identified as early events in conjunctival melanoma, associated with a distinct clinicopathological profile, similar to BRAF-mutated cutaneous melanoma. Immunohistochemical detection of BRAF can be used to assess BRAF V600E mutations.

Mikkelsen LH, Larsen AC, von Buchwald C, et al.
Mucosal malignant melanoma - a clinical, oncological, pathological and genetic survey.
APMIS. 2016; 124(6):475-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mucosal melanomas constitute 1.3% of all melanomas and they may develop in any mucosal membrane. Conjunctival melanomas (0.5/million/year) and melanomas in the sinonasal cavity (0.5/million/year) are the most common, followed by anorectal melanomas (0.4/million/year) and melanomas in the oral cavity (0.2/million/year). Anorectal melanoma occurs slightly more often in females, whereas oral melanoma has a male predilection. Mucosal melanoma most commonly develops in a patient's sixth or seventh decade of life, and no differences between races have been found except for sinonasal melanoma and conjunctival melanoma, which are very rare in Black people. The symptoms are not tumour-specific and are related to the organ system affected, and the disease is most often diagnosed at an advanced clinical stage. The diagnosis of a primary tumour is difficult, and metastatic cutaneous melanoma and choroidal melanoma must be excluded. Mutations in KIT are frequently found, while BRAF and NRAS mutations are rarely found - except in conjunctival melanomas that carry BRAF mutations. Mutations in the TERT promotor region are also found in mucosal melanomas. Complete surgical resection with free margins is the treatment of choice. The prognosis is poor, with the 5-year survival rate ranging from 0% (gastric melanoma) to 80% (conjunctival melanoma).

Spagnolo F, Picasso V, Spano L, et al.
Update on Metastatic Uveal Melanoma: Progress and Challenges.
BioDrugs. 2016; 30(3):161-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma is a rare and biologically distinct type of melanoma arising from melanocytes of the uveal tract; it is associated with a poor prognosis due to the lack of effective systemic treatments. Recent advances in the pathogenesis of uveal melanoma offer an unprecedented opportunity for investigation of new compounds. The purpose of this paper was to analyse the existing evidence about the molecular pathology and immunobiology of advanced uveal melanoma and their implications for systemic targeted therapies and immunotherapy, as well as to discuss future treatment strategies based on data provided by clinical and translational research studies.

Baker C, Kacperek A
The influence of physical wedges on penumbra and in-field dose uniformity in ocular proton beams.
Phys Med. 2016; 32(4):612-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
A physical wedge may be partially introduced into a proton beam when treating ocular tumours in order to improve dose conformity to the distal border of the tumour and spare the optic nerve. Two unwanted effects of this are observed: a predictable broadening of the beam penumbra on the wedged side of the field and, less predictably, an increase in dose within the field along a relatively narrow volume beneath the edge (toe) of the wedge, as a result of small-angle proton scatter. Monte Carlo simulations using MCNPX and direct measurements with radiochromic (GAFCHROMIC(®) EBT2) film were performed to quantify these effects for aluminium wedges in a 60 MeV proton beam as a function of wedge angle and position of the wedge relative to the patient. For extreme wedge angles (60° in eye tissue) and large wedge-to-patient distances (70 mm in this context), the 90-10% beam penumbra increased from 1.9 mm to 9.1 mm. In-field dose increases from small-angle proton scatter were found to contribute up to 21% additional dose, persisting along almost the full depth of the spread-out-Bragg peak. Profile broadening and in-field dose enhancement are both minimised by placing the wedge as close as possible to the patient. Use of lower atomic number wedge materials such as PMMA reduce the magnitude of both effects as a result of a reduced mean scattering angle per unit energy loss; however, their larger physical size and greater variation in density are undesirable.

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