Objectives: To report initial mortality findings from the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS) randomized clinical trial of iodine 125 brachytherapy vs enucleation for treatment of choroidal melanoma. Methods: Patients were evaluated for eligibility at 43 participating clinical centers in the United States and Canada. Eligible consenting patients were assigned randomly at the time of enrollment to enucleation or 125I brachytherapy. Patients were examined at specified intervals after enrollment for data collection purposes. Findings presented herein are based on data received by September 30, 2000. Data for each patient were analyzed with the treatment group to which the patient was assigned randomly at the time of enrollment. Results: During the 11 1/2-year accrual period, 1317 patients enrolled; 660 were assigned randomly to enucleation and 657 to 125I brachytherapy. Only 2 patients in the enucleation arm were found to have been misdiagnosed when histopathology was reviewed centrally. All but 17 patients (1.3%) received the assigned treatment. Adherence to the brachytherapy protocol was excellent, with 91% of patients treated per protocol. Based on time since enrollment, 1072 patients (81%) had been followed for mortality for 5 years and 416 (32%) for 10 years. A total of 364 patients had died: 188 (28%) of 660 patients in the enucleation arm and 176 (27%) of 657 patients in the brachytherapy arm. The unadjusted estimated 5-year survival rates were 81% and 82%, respectively; there was no clinically or statistically significant difference in survival rates overall (P = .48, log-rank test). The adjusted estimated risk ratio for 125I brachytherapy vs enucleation was 0.99 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80-1.22). Five-year rates of death with histopathologically confirmed melanoma metastasis were 11% and 9% following enucleation and brachytherapy, respectively; after adjustment, the estimated risk ratio was 0.91 (95% CI, 0.66-1.24). Conclusions: Mortality rates following 125I brachytherapy did not differ from mortality rates following enucleation for up to 12 years after treatment of patients with choroidal melanoma who enrolled in this COMS trial. The power of the study was sufficient to indicate that neither treatment is likely to increase or decrease mortality rates by as much as 25% relative to the other.
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