Proton irradiation of choroidal melanomas. Preliminary results.
Choroidal malignant melanomas in nine patients were treated with proton beam irradiation at the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory, Cambridge, Mass. Each patient received five proton beam treatments in eight to ten days, totalling 4,730 to 8,570 rads at the tumor. No complications occurred during the treatment or follow-up period, which, at the time of this writing, ranges from one to 24 months, with an average of 12 months. No further growth of the tumor has been observed in any patient. Different signs of tumor regression have been noted. Resolution of the serous retinal detachments that accompanied some tumors is the earliest finding. Pigment changes over the surface of the tumor and adjacent pigment epithelium is a usual initial tumor response. Fluorescein angiography initially showed decreased leakage of dye; later, destruction of the tumor's vasculature and elimination of fluorescein leakage became evident. Only large choroidal vessels remained patient. Ultrasonography revealed decreased height of the tumors postirradiation, and the radioactive phosphorus (32P) uptake test, repeated in one patient, turned negative on postirradiation measurements.