Ciliary Body Leiomyoma and Melanoma Can Appear Identical as Found in Research Supported by The Eye Cancer Foundation

In a new study published to the American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports, eye cancer professionals identified biopsy with immunohistochemical pathology analysis as the only method that can differentiate between certain leiomyoma and uveal melanoma.

According to the study, the two ocular diseases present identically with regard to clinical appearance and testing, hence their “doppelgänger” status. Both conditions can be characterized by pigmentation, exudative retinal detachment, a dome-shape structure, and moderate internal reflectivity. In addition to being indistinguishable, remarkably one is benign and the other malignant.  

Unlike uveal melanoma tumors, leiomyomas do not metastasize. However, since they can be indistinguishable from the more common cancer and very large, many patients have had to lose their eye as treatment. The study suggests that the eye cancer specialists must have a high index of suspicion that a tumor is a benign leiomyoma, leading to a biopsy-assisted pathology examination to reveal the true diagnosis. In the two cases assessed through the study, this method offered researchers a deciphering element that traditional classification methods lack.  

Of the team of researchers involved in the study includes: The Eye Cancer Foundation Executive Director Dr. Paul Finger, and ECF Fellow Dr. Ankit Singh Tomar. We are grateful for their contributions to the field of ophthalmic oncology and the research they will continue to pursue. 

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