Objective: To describe time trends, from 1987 through 1997, (1) in size of choroidal melanoma among patients with recent diagnosis confirmed at a clinical center that participated in the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS) and (2) in choice of treatment by patients who did not enroll in one of the COMS randomized trials. Methods: Investigators at all COMS clinical centers (41 in the United States and 2 in Canada) agreed to report, in a masked fashion that did not include personal identifiers, all patients diagnosed as having choroidal melanoma during the accrual period for COMS randomized trials of radiotherapy. Information reported for patients who did not enroll in a COMS randomized trial included tumor dimensions, date of diagnosis, and initial treatment selected. Patients reported by centers that continued to report cases until 1997 and diagnosed as having choroidal melanoma no more than 1 year before evaluation at a participating COMS center contributed the data analyzed. Outcome Measures: Time trends in tumor size among patients reported and in elective treatment of patients not enrolled in COMS randomized trials. Results: Of 8712 patients with choroidal melanoma examined, 6703 met criteria for analysis of time trend in tumor size and 4077 were analyzed for treatment trends over time. The number of cases with longest tumor basal diameter greater than 15.0 mm declined over time from 393 (30%) of 1330 cases reported in 1987 through 1989 to 345 (25%) of 1397 cases reported in 1996 or 1997. The proportion of patients eligible for COMS randomized trials who did not enroll and who elected enucleation remained stable over time for tumors of all sizes; the proportion of these patients who dected eye-conserving radiotherapy increased over time. Juxtapapillary tumors accounted for nearly half of the enucleations among ineligible patients who had tumors no larger than 15.0 mm in longest basal diameter. Conclusions: Among patients examined at COMS centers during 1987 through 1997, the trends observed for patients with recently diagnosed choroidal melanoma included increasing presentation with tumors of smaller size, decreasing use of enucleation for choroidal melanoma 15.0 mm or less in longest basal diameter, and increasing use of such strategies for larger tumors.
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