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Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

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Intraocular (Uveal) Melanoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cellular Classification of Intraocular (Uveal) Melanoma

Primary intraocular melanomas originate from melanocytes in the uveal tract.[1] Four distinct cellular types are recognized in intraocular melanoma (revised Callender classification):[2]

  1. Spindle-A cells (spindle-shaped cells with slender nuclei and lacking visible nucleoli).
  2. Spindle-B cells (spindle-shaped cells with larger nuclei and distinct nucleoli).
  3. Epithelioid cells (larger polygonal cells with one or more prominent nucleoli).
  4. Intermediate cells (similar to but smaller than epithelioid cells).

Most primary intraocular melanomas contain variable proportions of epithelioid, spindle-A, and spindle-B cells (mixed-cell melanomas). Pure epithelioid-cell primary melanomas are infrequent (approximately 3% of cases).[1] In the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study, mixed-cell type melanomas predominated (86% of cases).[3]


  1. Klintworth GK, Scroggs MW: The eye and ocular adnexa. In: Sternberg SS, ed.: Diagnostic Surgical Pathology. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999, pp 994-6.
  2. Grossniklaus HE, Green WR: Uveal tumors. In: Garner A, Klintworth GK, eds.: Pathobiology of Ocular Disease: A Dynamic Approach. 2nd ed. New York, NY: M. Dekker, 1994, pp 1423-77.
  3. Histopathologic characteristics of uveal melanomas in eyes enucleated from the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study. COMS report no. 6. Am J Ophthalmol 125 (6): 745-66, 1998.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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