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Presurgical Radiation Boosts Survival After Eye Melanoma

Procedure offers long-term benefit for uveal melanoma patients

THURSDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Radiotherapy of an eye before enucleation improves survival for patients with uveal melanoma, according to a study in the October issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Emine Kilic, M.D., of The Eye Hospital in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues studied the effect of preenucleation radiotherapy (PER) on mortality rates in patients with uveal melanoma.

Between 1978 and 1992, 167 patients were treated by irradiation with 800 rad in two fractions two days before enucleation. A control group of 108 patients was treated between 1971 and 1992 by enucleation only.

After a mean 9.25-year follow-up, the researchers found that 32.3% of the PER-treated group died of melanoma-related causes, versus 40.7% of the enucleation-only group. The 15-year survival rate for PER-treated patients was 63.7%, compared with 51% for the enucleation-only group. Women had a better prognosis than men.

"This study suggests that PER improves long-term survival in patients with uveal melanoma," the authors write.

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