The study was done to relate conjunctival melanoma characteristics to local control.
288 patients had a mean initial age of 59.7±16.8 years. Clinical T-categories (cT) were cT1 (n=218,75.7%), cT2 (n=34, 11.8%), cT3 (n=15, 5.2%), cTx (n=21,7.3%) with no cT4. Primary treatment included local excision (n=161/288, 55.9%) followed by excision biopsy with cryotherapy (n=108/288, 37.5%) and exenteration (n=5/288, 1.7%). Adjuvant therapies included topical mitomycin (n=107/288, 37.1%), plaque-brachytherapy (n=55/288, 19.1%), proton-beam (n=36/288, 13.5%), topical interferon (n=20/288, 6.9%) and EBRT (n=15/288, 5.2%). Secondary exenteration was performed (n=11/283, 3.9%). Local recurrence was noted in 19.1% (median=3.6 years). Cumulative local recurrence was 5.4% (3.2–8.9%), 19.3% (14.4–25.5%) and 36.9% (26.5–49.9%) at 1, 5 and 10 years, respectively. cT3 and cT2 tumors were twice as likely to recur than cT1 tumours, but only cT3 had statistically significantly greater risk of local recurrence than T1 (p=0.013). Factors such as tumour ulceration, plica or caruncle involvement and tumour thickness were not significantly associated with an increased risk of local recurrence.
This study concluded that the eighth edition of AJCC tumour staging was related to the risk of local recurrence of conjunctival melanoma after treatment. The 10-year cumulative local recurrence remains high despite current management.