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Clinical Sciences
September 1999

Indeterminate Melanocytic Proliferations of the Conjunctiva

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Dr Grossniklaus), Pathology (Drs Grossniklaus and Solomon), and Dermatology (Dr Solomon), Emory University, Altanta, Ga; and The Watson Clinic, Lakeland, Fla (Dr Margo).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117(9):1131-1136. doi:10.1001/archopht.117.9.1131

Objective  To test the hypothesis that a subset of conjunctival melanocytic proliferations exists that cannot be reproducibly classified as benign, malignant, or indeterminate.

Methods  Three groups of excisional biopsy specimens of conjunctival melanocytic proliferations were evaluated by a panel of 5 ophthalmic pathologists. These groups included lesions that we considered to represent benign (group 1 [n=5]), malignant (group 2 [n=5]), and indeterminate melanocytic proliferations (group 3 [n=5]). The panel classified the same sections in all 3 groups in a randomized, masked fashion, first without and then with a clinical history of patient age, sex, and race. The κ statistic was used to quantify the degree of agreement among observers.

Results  There was strong concordance among the panel members for both group 1 (benign [κ=0.76]) and group 2 (malignant [κ=0.70]) melanocytic proliferations. There was no concordance of the panel for group 3 (indeterminate) lesions (κ=−0.045). The concordance for groups 1 and 2 and lack of concordance for group 3 lesions were independent of knowledge of clinical history of age, sex, and race.

Conclusion  A subset of melanocytic proliferations of the conjunctiva exists that cannot be reproducibly classified by pathologists as benign, malignant, or indeterminate.