Microvessel density has become established as an important prognostic indicator for many tumor types. This study investigates the microvessel density as a prognostic factor for survival in patients with uveal melanoma, which is the commonest intraocular tumor and has a clear tendency for metastatic spread to the liver. Factor VIII-related antigen was identified immunohistochemically in bleached sections from 123 tumors. Maximum blood vessel density in an area of 0.25 mm2 was recorded, along with other accepted prognostic information. Microvessel density was the single most important prognostic factor on univariate testing, and in a Cox proportional hazard model, tumor size was the only other variable to be entered. No other accepted prognostic factor entered the model. We conclude that microvessel density is an important prognostic factor for survival in patients with uveal melanoma and allows the identification of high-risk patients for whom adjuvant therapy should be considered.

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Supported by Grant CJT/bsb/92-06A from The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (to A. J. E. F.).

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