Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of uveal melanoma: outcomes and complications

Arun D. Singh, Carlos A. Medina, Nakul Singh, Mary E. Aronow, Charles V. Biscotti, Pierre L. Triozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


PURPOSE: To report outcomes and complications of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) of uveal melanoma performed for diagnostic and prognostic purposes.

METHODS: Prospective interventional case series of 150 consecutive patients with a clinical diagnosis of uveal melanoma. The FNAB approach (transcorneal (TCO), transscleral (TSC) and transvitreal (TVT) was primarily determined by the location of the tumour. The FNAB was performed using a 25-gauge needle using a previously published technique. Prognostication was done using fluorescent in situ hybridisation detection of monosomy of chromosome 3.

RESULTS: FNAB was obtained via TCO (8), TSC (71) and TVT (64) approach and impression smear in seven cases. Diagnostic yield was 92%. False-negative results were observed in 8%. Diagnostic yield was significantly correlated to biopsy approach (TCO 100%, TSC 96%, TSV 86%; p=0.029) and tumour size (basal diameter >5.0 mm; height >2.5 mm). Persistent haemorrhage (subretinal haemorrhage or vitreous) requiring surgical intervention (1%) and rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (1%) were rare. Endophthalmitis, hypotony, tumour recurrence, episcleral seeding were not observed over the average follow-up of 37 months. Prognostication could be performed in 85% of cases. Overall, only 47% of eligible patients enrolled into the adjuvant therapy trial.

CONCLUSIONS: FNAB for uveal melanoma with 25-gauge needle is a safe procedure that can yield diagnostic and prognostic information in vast majority of cases (92% and 85%, respectively). Even so, only about half of the eligible cases eventually enrolled into the adjuvant therapy trial. Possibility of negative FNAB yield should be considered when counselling patients with small tumours. Alternative means of diagnostic biopsy and methods of prognostication need to be assessed for small tumours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-462
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Choroid
  • Neoplasia
  • Pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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    Singh, A. D., Medina, C. A., Singh, N., Aronow, M. E., Biscotti, C. V., & Triozzi, P. L. (2016). Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of uveal melanoma: outcomes and complications. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 100(4), 456-462.