Choroidal melanoma is the most common eye cancer in adults, and Dr. Finger’s research has been key to developing treatments.
Even so, it is still extremely rare. Annually, 4-6 people per million in the US are diagnosed with choroidal melanoma, and it is found in 10-12 people per million in Australia, Europe and Russia. It occurs more commonly in people who work outdoors, and those with blue irises and fair skin. This seems to indicate that ultraviolet radiation from the sun plays a role. So Dr. Finger says, “Think of sunglasses as sunblock for your eyes.”
Dr. Finger has done extensive research in the diagnosis and treatment of choroidal melanoma, leading to pioneering treatments.
In 2009, Dr. Finger published his patient outcomes for 400 cases of intraocular melanoma treated with palladium-103 plaque radiation therapy. He found a local control rate (rate of killing the tumor in the eye) of 96.7%. With this treatment, 79% of patients retained useful vision. In 2013, he published a study that small melanomas treated with palladium-103 plaques did even better (100% local control).
These results rank among the highest in the world. This is important because local tumor control improves survival and retaining vision improves patient quality of life.
Dr. Finger has also looked into the need for biopsies as a diagnostic tool. He determined doctors should be able to make a diagnosis of choroidal melanoma with better than 99% accuracy without a biopsy.
Dr. Finger has developed several treatments based on his research findings, including “Finger’s Slotted Plaques” for treating tumors near the optic nerve, anti-VEGF treatment to preserve vision, and has offered guidelines for plaque radiation.
For more information on Dr. Finger’s research and the resulting developments in treatment of choroidal melanoma, download the PDF: