Nathalie Cassoux

Uveal melanoma

Uveal melanoma is the most common form of eye cancer in adults, with 500 to 600 new cases diagnosed each year in France. It can cause serious vision problems. Survival is almost 70%. Institut Curie is the leading national center for this disease.

Where does uveal melanoma develop?

The most common melanoma is skin melanoma. However, it can occur in the mucous membranes or the eye. Like the skin, our eyes contain melanocytes; these cells are responsible for producing melanin, a pigment that protects us from the sun’s rays. In the eye, they are located in the uvea.

In the back of the eye, this tissue contains the choroid, which covers the retina. In the front of the eye, it comprises the ciliary body and the iris.

In the vast majority of cases, the melanoma occurs in the choroid. The ciliary body is rarely the site of this tumor, and the iris even less often. Melanoma of the iris, another eye cancer, has a better prognosis than cancers occurring in the ciliary body and the choroid.