PURPOSE: In the management of uveal melanoma, eye plaque brachytherapy (EPBT) has replaced enucleation as the standard of care for small size tumors that require treatment, and for medium size tumors. In the modern era, EPBT is being utilized more frequently for certain large tumors as well. While there is prospective randomized evidence to support utilization of EPBT for tumors of appropriate dimensions, it is unclear what the actual practice patterns are across the United States. The purpose of this publication was to look at contemporary trends in the management of uveal melanoma across the United States to determine whether practices are appropriately adopting EPBT, and to investigate demographic and socio-economic factors that might be associated with deviations from this standard of care.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The National Cancer Database was queried (2004-2015) for patients with uveal melanoma. Data regarding tumor characteristics and treatment were collected. Two-sided Pearson χ 2 test was used to compare categorical frequencies between patients who received globe preserving treatments vs. those who received enucleation. Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to determine characteristics predictive for receiving enucleation.

RESULTS: The enucleation rate for small/medium tumors (≤ 10 mm apical height and ≤ 16 mm basal diameter) decreased from 20% in 2004 to 10% in 2015. The EPBT rate for large tumors increased from 30% in 2004 to 45% in 2015. Numerous demographic and socio-economic factors were found to be associated with higher rates of enucleation.

CONCLUSIONS: The overall trend across the nation is a decreased enucleation rate for small/medium tumors, and an increased EPBT rate for large tumors. A fraction of patients who should be candidates for EPBT are instead receiving enucleation, and in this study, we have shown that certain adverse demographic factors are associated with this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Contemporary Brachytherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • enucleation
  • eye plaque brachytherapy
  • uveal melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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