A randomized controlled trial of varying radiation doses in the treatment of choroidal melanoma

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Choroid Neoplasms; Cobalt Radioisotopes; Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation; Double-Blind Method; Female; Humans; Male; Melanoma; Middle Aged; Radiation Dosage; Radiation Injuries; *Radiotherapy Dosage; Visual Acuity; Visual Fields


Eye Diseases | Neoplasms | Ophthalmology


OBJECTIVE: To determine if a reduction in proton radiation dose from the standard dose of 70 cobalt gray equivalents (CGE) to 50 CGE would decrease radiation-induced complications, thereby improving visual prognosis, without compromising local tumor control for patients with uveal melanoma at high risk of these complications.

DESIGN: Randomized, double-masked clinical trial.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 188 patients with small or medium-sized choroidal melanomas (height) near the optic disc or macula (within 4 disc diameters of either structure).

METHODS: Patients were treated with proton beam therapy at doses of either 50 CGE or 70 CGE between October 1989 and July 1994, and followed up biannually through April 1998. Outcomes included visual acuity, radiation complications, melanoma recurrence, and metastasis.

RESULTS: Proportions of patients retaining visual acuity of at least 20/200 were similar in the 2 dose groups at 5 years after radiation (approximately 55%). Similar numbers of patients in each group experienced tumor regrowth (2 patients at 50 CGE vs 3 patients at 70 CGE; P>.99) and metastasis (7 patients at 50 CGE vs 8 patients at 70 CGE;P=.79). Five-year rates of radiation maculopathy also were similar (for both groups, approximately 75% for tumors within 1 disc diameter and 40% for tumors >1 disc diameter from the macula). Rates of radiation papillopathy were nonsignificantly decreased in the 50-CGE treatment group when tumors were located 1 disc diameter or less from the optic disc (P=.20). Patients treated with the lower dose also experienced significantly less visual field loss.

CONCLUSIONS: This level of dose reduction did not result in a lesser degree of visual acuity loss. The lower-dose group did experience significantly less visual field loss. Local tumor recurrence and metastatic death rates were similar in both dose groups.


Arch Ophthalmol. 2000 Jun;118(6):773-8.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Archives of ophthalmology


At the time of publication, Wenjun Li was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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Link to Article in PubMed

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