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Clinicopathologic Report
June 2000

Choroidal Metastasis as the Initial Manifestation of a Pigmented Neuroendocrine Tumor

Author Affiliations

W. RICHARDGREENMDFrom the Department of Pathology (Dr Eagle) and the Oncology Service (Drs J. A. Shields and C. L. Shields), Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pa, and the Department of Pathology (Dr Ehya), Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000;118(6):841-845. doi:10.1001/archopht.118.6.841

We report the case of a 77-year-old woman in whom choroidal metastasis was the initial manifestation of a primary neoplasm presumed to be a pigmented pulmonary carcinoid tumor. The tumor initially was misdiagnosed cytologically and pathologically as a choroidal melanoma because it contained intrinsic melanin pigment. Positive immunoreactivity for cytokeratin, synaptophysin, chromogranin, and calcitonin and the presence of dense-core neurosecretory vesicles disclosed by electron microscopy established that the metastasis was a neuroendocrine tumor. Findings from systemic evaluation suggested that the primary tumor was located in the lung. The patient subsequently developed an intradural paraspinal metastasis, which also contained melanin pigment. The latter observation confirmed that the melanin in the uveal metastasis was intrinsic and did not represent secondary phagocytosis by tumor cells. Metastases from pigmented tumors of nonmelanocytic derivation are exceedingly rare but present a major diagnostic challenge to ocular pathologists and cytopathologists if the diagnosis is not suspected. Confirmatory immunohistochemical analysis should be obtained when a pigmented choroidal tumor thought to be a melanoma has atypical features.