How is choroidal melanoma categorized?

Updated: Feb 18, 2020
  • Author: Enrique Garcia-Valenzuela, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Choroidal melanoma is the most common primary malignant intraocular tumor and the second most common type of primary malignant melanoma in the body. It is nevertheless an infrequently found tumor.

Choroidal melanoma is a subtype of uveal melanoma. Uveal melanomas can be divided into 2 categories: (1) anterior uveal melanomas, in which the tumor arises in the iris, and (2) posterior uveal melanomas, in which the tumor arises in either the choroid or the ciliary body. Intraocular melanomas simultaneously can involve more than 1 uveal structure.

The ocular tissue where these tumors arise, the uvea, is a densely pigmented layer that forms part of the wall of the eye. The uvea is subdivided into the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid. The choroid underlies the retina and its pigment epithelium throughout the ocular fundus. The main function of the uvea is to provide oxygen and other nourishment to the highly metabolically demanding retinal photoreceptors. It is primarily a vascular tissue, with fenestrated capillaries and stroma containing melanocytes.

Go to Ciliary Body Melanoma, Conjunctival Melanoma, and Iris Melanoma for complete information on these topics.

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