Choroidal metastases are the most frequent malignant tumors of the eye.
They can lead to severe complications (such as blindness) and significant deterioration of the quality of life.
Radiation therapy is the treatment of reference: it yields high local control rates and improvement of visual function.
Palliative fractionation is often recommended but more focused techniques may be discussed.
Systemic treatments provide promising outcomes in selected cases, thus requiring further assessment.
Choroidal metastases (CM) are the most common malignant intraocular lesion observed in up to 4–12% of necropsy series of patients with solid cancer. The spectrum of presentations varies from prevalent CM in disseminated cancer to isolated CM. CM are responsible for visual deterioration. Depending on the primary cancer, estimated life expectancy, overall cancer presentation and ocular symptoms, the management of CM varies widely. We address the multidisciplinary management of CM and technical aspects of radiotherapy.
A systematic review of literature was performed from 1974 to 2014.
Choroidal metastases occur preferentially in breast and lung carcinomas but are reported in all cancer types. The standard treatment remains external beam radiotherapy, applying 30 Gy in 10 fractions or 40 Gy in 20 fractions. The reported complete response and improved visual acuity rates are 80% and 57% to 89%, respectively. Some chemotherapy or new targeted therapy regimens yield promising CM response rates.
Radiation therapy consistently shows rapid symptom alleviation, yield excellent local control and functional outcomes. However, there are only few reports on late toxicities after 6 months given the unfavorable prognostic of CM patients. Selected patients may live more than two years, underlying the need to better assess mean and long term outcomes. Some authors have favored exclusive systemic strategies with omission of irradiation. The current literature suffers from the scarcity of prospective trials. Duration of tumor response following systemic therapy is rarely reported but appears less favorable as compared to radiotherapy. Systemic treatments may be proposed for pauci-symptomatic CM in a polymetastatic context while radiation therapy remains necessary in symptomatic CM either upfront or as an alternating treatment. Focalized radiation like brachytherapy and proton therapy may be proposed for isolated CM with long disease-free interval between primary and CM, as these techniques have the potential to yield better tumor and functional outcomes in patients with long life expectancy.
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