Objective: The purpose of the study is to compare the prognostic significance of horizontal/marginal versus vertical/diffuse patterns of postirradiation local recurrence of posterior uveal melanoma. Design: The study design was a nonrandomized, retrospective clinical study. Semiparametric and nonparametric statistical techniques were used. Participants: Seven hundred sixty-six posterior uveal melanoma patients were studied. Intervention: Either iodine-125 plaque or helium ion radiation therapy was performed. Main Outcome Measures: Local tumor recurrence and systemic metastasis were measured. Results: Local tumor recurrence was detected in 66 (8.6%) of 766 irradiated tumors. The 5-year actuarial rate of local recurrence was 10%. The recurrence pattern was horizontal/marginal in 27 patients (41%) and vertical/diffuse in 39 patients (59%). Systemic metastasis was detected in 5 patients (19%) with horizontal/marginal recurrence and in 19 patients (49%) with vertical/diffuse recurrence. After known metastatic risk factors were controlled, the relative risk for metastasis was 2.2 for horizontal/marginal recurrence and 5.1 for vertical/diffuse recurrence (P = 0.05). The actuarial rate of systemic metastasis was 2.9% per year for all patients, 6.3% per year for patients with horizontal/marginal recurrence, and 15.5% per year for patients with vertical/diffuse recurrence. Conclusions: Postirradiation local recurrence of posterior uveal melanoma is a risk factor for systemic metastasis. Vertical/diffuse recurrences may be associated more strongly with metastatic disease than horizontal/marginal recurrences.
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