Purpose Perform the first in vivo examination of fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) scleral tracts to determine the incidence of iatrogenic extension of tumor cells. Design A prospective, consecutive, observational case series. Methods This study was performed in a clinical/surgical setting at Retina Consultants of Houston and Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas, and included 10 patients who were scheduled for enucleation as primary treatment for uveal melanoma. Treatment included FNAB, enucleation, and histopathologic analysis. The primary outcomes were tumor location and dimension as identified by B-scans and histopathologic analysis. Tumor type was classified by gene expression profile and American Joint Committee on Cancer staging. Twenty-five– or 27-gauge needles were used for FNAB under direct visualization. Cell blocks of acquired specimens were examined using hematoxylin-eosin stain and double immunostain using HMB45 with red chromogen and Ki67 with brown 3,3'-diaminobenzidine chromogen. Results Mean follow-up after enucleation was 20.4 months (range 9.9–31.7). All biopsy specimens had adequate yields for genomic analysis. No enucleation specimen contained tumor cells within sclera, pars plana, or pars plicata. One specimen contained a small collection of tumor cells within the anterior vitreous in the quadrant of the biopsy site. No patient developed an orbital recurrence. Four patients developed nonorbital metastatic uveal melanoma during the study period. Three of them died, and 1 is alive with hepatic metastasis. Conclusions No iatrogenic extension of tumor was reported. FNAB is a safe procedure that produces a high cellular yield for cytologic and genomic analyses with minimal risk of extraocular dissemination.
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