Diagnostic transvitreal fine-needle aspiration biopsy of small melanocytic choroidal tumors in nevus versus melanoma category

Department of Ophthalmology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society 01/2002; 100:225-32; discussion 232-4.
Source: PubMed


To report an experience with fine-needle aspiration biopsy of selected small melanocytic choroidal tumors during the interval from April 13, 1983, through January 19, 2001.
Retrospective descriptive case series report of 34 patients with a small melanocytic choroidal tumor (maximal diameter, < or = 10 mm; thickness, > or = 1.5 mm but < or = 3 mm) evaluated diagnostically by transvitreal fine-needle aspiration biopsy prior to treatment. None of the tumors had invasive features at the time of biopsy.
Patients ranged in age from 26 to 73 years (mean, 50.9 years). The evaluated choroidal tumors had a mean maximal basal diameter of 8.0 mm and a mean maximal thickness of 2.4 mm. Eighteen of the 34 tumors (52.9%) had been documented to enlarge prior to biopsy. Biopsy was performed in all cases using a 25-gauge hollow lumen needle and a transvitreal approach via a pars plana puncture site. The biopsy yielded a sufficient aspirate for cytodiagnosis in 22 of 34 cases (64.7%). In these cases, the tumor was classified as malignant melanoma in 16 (47.1% of total), intermediate lesion in 4 (11.8%), and benign nevus in 2 (5.9%). The 12 tumors that yielded an insufficient aspirate and the four lesions that yielded intermediate cells continued to be classified as "nevus versus melanoma" and were monitored periodically for growth or other changes. Four of the 12 tumors that yielded an insufficient aspirate for cytodiagnosis and all four lesions that yielded intermediate cells were eventually reclassified as small choroidal melanomas and treated. The remaining eight tumors that yielded an insufficient aspirate and the two tumors that yielded benign nevus cells were classified as benign nevi at the most recent follow-up evaluation.
Fine-needle aspiration biopsy showed that a substantial proportion of small melanocytic choroidal tumors likely to be classified clinically as small choroidal melanomas in many centers were in fact benign nevi or intermediate lesions.

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    • "Our study was a prospective, non-randomized, IRB-approved, single-center longitudinal clinical study of 159 patients with primary posterior uveal melanoma sampled by FNAB between September 2007 and December 2010. All tumors in this series were sampled in at least two separate sites, and most were sampled in four separate sites using previously published FNAB techniques [11, 12]. The first and (when available) third aspirates were suspended into a 50:50 mixture of balanced salt solution and absolute alcohol, and submitted to our pathology laboratory for cytopathologic processing and analysis [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the relative sufficiency of paired aspirates of posterior uveal melanomas obtained by FNAB for cytopathology and GEP, and their prognostic significance for predicting death from metastasis. Prospective non-randomized IRB-approved single-center longitudinal clinical study of 159 patients with posterior uveal melanoma sampled by FNAB in at least two tumor sites between 09/2007 and 12/2010. Cases were analyzed with regard to sufficiency of the obtained aspirates for cytopathologic classification and GEP classification. Statistical strength of associations between variables and GEP class was computed using Chi-square test. Cumulative actuarial survival curves of subgroups of these patients based on their cytopathologic versus GEP-assigned categories were computed by the Kaplan-Meier method. The endpoint for this survival analysis was death from metastatic uveal melanoma. FNAB aspirates were insufficient for cytopathologic classification in 34 of 159 cases (21.9 %). In contrast, FNAB aspirates were insufficient for GEP classification in only one of 159 cases (0.6 %). This difference is statistically significant (P < 0.001). Six of 34 tumors (17.6 %) that yielded an insufficient aspirate for cytopathologic diagnosis were categorized as GEP class 2, while 43 of 125 tumors (34.7 %) that yielded a sufficient aspirate for cytopathologic diagnosis were categorized as GEP class 2. To date, 14 of the 49 patients with a GEP class 2 tumor (28.6 %) but only five of the 109 patients with a GEP class 1 tumor (5.6 %) have developed metastasis. Fifteen of 125 patients (12 %) whose tumors yielded sufficient aspirates for cytopathologic classification but only four of 34 patients (11.8 %) whose tumors yielded insufficient aspirates for cytopathologic classification developed metastasis. The median post-biopsy follow-up time for surviving patients in this series was 32.5 months. Cumulative actuarial 5-year probability of death from metastasis 14.1 % for those with an insufficient aspirate for cytopathologic classification versus 22.4 % for those with a sufficient aspirate for cytopathologic classification (log rank P = 0.68). In contrast, the cumulative actuarial 5-year probability of metastatic death was 8.0 % for those with an insufficient/unsatisfactory aspirate for GEP classification or GEP class 1 tumor, versus 45.0 % for those with a GEP class 2 tumor (log rank P = 0.005). This study confirmed that GEP classification of posterior uveal melanoma cells obtained by FNAB is feasible in almost all cases, including most in which FNAB yields an insufficient aspirate for cytodiagnosis. The study also confirmed that GEP classification is substantially better than cytologic classification for predicting subsequent metastasis and metastatic death.
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    • "The technique of FNAC is as per that described in any of the standard text books (Orell & Vielh, 1999). Orbital FNA is performed via transcleral, transcorneal or transvitreal approach using 25-30guage needle (Augsburger et al., 2002; Char et al., 2006; Young et al., 2007, 2008). For tiny and vascular lesions, non-aspiration technique is preferable (Solo et al., 2009). "

    Full-text · Chapter · Sep 2011
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    • "Inadequate samples may be obtained by sampling correctly from inside in small, compact and solid tumours (Augsburger et al. 2002) and even from lesions > 4.5 mm thick (Char & Miller 1995; Shields et al. 2006). Tumours that yield a limited material tend to be composed of strongly cohesive cells, which are a relative indicator that the process is of a benign nature. "
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    ABSTRACT: Ocular oncologists require a strong indication for intraocular biopsy before the procedure can be performed because it carries a risk for serious eye complications and the dissemination of malignant cells. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the extent to which this restricted practice is supported by evidence from previous reports and to outline our main indications and contraindications. The different intraocular biopsy techniques in the anterior and posterior segment are discussed with a focus on our preferred method, fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). In the literature, complications are typically under-reported, which reduces the possibilities of evaluating the risks correctly and of making fair comparisons with other biopsy methods. In FNAB, the exact placement of the needle is critical, as is an accurate assessment of the size of the lesion. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy is usually not a reliable diagnostic tool in lesions < 2 mm in thickness. It is very advantageous to have a cytopathologist present in the operating theatre or close by. This ensures adequate sampling and encourages repeated biopsy attempts if necessary. This approach reduces false negative results to < 3%. Adjunct immunocytochemistry is documented to increase specificity and is essential for diagnosis and management in about 10% of cases. In some rare pathological processes the diagnosis depends ultimately on the identification of specific cell markers. An accurate diagnosis may have a decisive influence on prognosis. The cytogenetic prognostications made possible after FNAB are reliable. Biopsy by FNA has a low complication rate. The calculated risk for retinal detachment is < 4%. Intraocular haemorrhage is frequently observed, but clears spontaneously in nearly all cases. Only a single case of epibulbar seeding of malignant cells at the scleral pars plana puncture site of transvitreal FNAB has been documented. Endophthalmitis has been reported and adequate standard preoperative preparation is obligatory. An open biopsy is still an option in the anterior segment, but has been abandoned in the posterior segment. Although vitrectomy-based procedures are becoming increasingly popular, we recommend using FNAB as part of a stepwise approach. A vitrectomy-assisted biopsy should be considered in cases where FNAB fails. In any adult patient with suspected intraocular malignancy in which enucleation is not the obvious treatment, the clinician should strive for a diagnosis based on biopsy. When the lesion is too small for biopsy or the risks related to the procedure are too great, it is reasonable to be reluctant to biopsy. The standards applied in the treatment of intraocular malignant diseases should be equivalent to those in other fields of oncology. Our view is controversial and contrary to opinion that supports current standards of care for this group of patients.
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