Familial uveal melanoma: a report on two families and a review of the literature


Dr Laurent Kodjikian
University Eye Clinic – Hospices Civils de Lyon
Hôpital de la Croix Rousse
Service d'Ophtalmologie
103 Grande rue de la Croix Rousse
69004 Lyon
Tel : + 33 472 071 718
Fax: + 33 472 071 708
Email: kodjikian.laurent@wanadoo.fr


Purpose:  A total of 69 families affected by uveal melanoma have been reported in the literature. This report describes two additional families. In addition to presenting these cases, which constitute exceptions, the paper reviews the literature.

Material and Methods:  Two families, each with two affected members, were analysed in this retrospective study. The pedigree of each family has been pieced together.

Results:  Considering the low incidence of familial uveal melanoma in the general population, it seems unlikely that inherited genetic factors are responsible for the condition; this question remains difficult to resolve.

Discussion:  The characteristics of each family history are described and compared with the literature data. The mode of possible inheritance is discussed. Both the histopathology and anatomical location are studied, after which we discuss the body of evidence to establish whether there is an inherited cancer predisposition syndrome in patients with familial uveal melanoma.

Conclusion:  The statistical likelihood of such an uncommon tumour occurring independently in two or more family members leads us to believe that some cases of familial uveal melanoma may go unrecognized, and that reports on too few families have been published worldwide to prove the existence of a single mendelien gene. However, appropriate tissue samples, such as blood and tumour samples, should be obtained and conserved for present or future cytogenetic and molecular genetic studies.