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This article is the author’s final published version in Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Volume 67, Issue 12, December 2019, Pages 1959-1963.

The published version is available at Copyright © Shields et al.


Purpose: The cancer genome atlas (TCGA) is a comprehensive project supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States to explore molecular alterations in cancer, including uveal melanoma (UM). This led to TCGA classification for UM. In this report, we review the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) classification and TCGA classification for UM from the NCI's Center for Cancer Genomics (NCI CCG) (based on enucleation specimens [n = 80 eyes]) and from Wills Eye Hospital (WEH) (based on fine needle aspiration biopsy [FNAB] specimens [n = 658 eyes]). We then compare accuracy and predictability of AJCC versus (vs.) TCGA.

Methods: Review of published reports on AJCC and TCGA classification for UM was performed. Outcomes based on AJCC 7th and 8th editions were assessed. For TCGA, UM was classified based on chromosomes 3 and 8 findings including disomy 3 (D3), monosomy 3 (M3), disomy 8 (D8), 8q gain (8qG), or 8q gain multiple (8qGm) and combined into four classes including Class A (D3/D8), Class B (D3/8qG), Class C (M3/8qG), and Class D (M3/8qGm). Outcomes of metastasis and death were explored and a comparison (AJCC vs. TCGA) was performed.

Results: In the NCI CCG study, there were 80 eyes with UM sampled by enucleation (n = 77), resection (n = 2), or orbitotomy (n = 1) and analysis revealed four distinct genetic classes. Metastasis and death outcomes were subsequently evaluated per class in the WEH study. The WEH study reviewed 658 eyes with UM, sampled by FNAB, and found Class A (n = 342, 52%), B (n = 91, 14%), C (n = 118, 18%), and D (n = 107, 16%). Comparison by increasing class (A vs. B vs. C vs. D) revealed older mean patient age (P < 0.001), worse entering visual acuity (P < 0.001), greater distance from the optic disc (P < 0.001), larger tumor diameter (P < 0.001), and greater tumor thickness (P < 0.001). Regarding outcomes, more advanced TCGA class demonstrated increased 5-year risk for metastasis (4% vs. 20% vs. 33% vs. 63%,P < 0.001) with corresponding increasing hazard ratio (HR) (1.0 vs. 4.1, 10.1, 30.0,P= 0.01 for B vs. A andP < 0.001 for C vs. A and D vs. A) as well as increased 5-year estimated risk for death (1% vs. 0% vs. 9% vs. 23%,P < 0.001) with corresponding increasing HR (1 vs. NA vs. 3.1 vs. 13.7,P= 0.11 for C vs. A andP < 0.001 for D vs. A). Comparison of AJCC to TCGA classification revealed TCGA was superior in prediction of metastasis and death from UM.

Conclusion: TCGA classification for UM is simple, accurate, and highly predictive of melanoma-related metastasis and death, more so than the AJCC classification.

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