Conjunctival lymphoma: results and treatment with a single anterior electron feld

Author(s): Dunbar SF, Linggood RM, Doppke KP


Lymphoma of the conjunctiva is rare. It presents in older patients as a mass lesion and usually remains localized. Surgery is limited to biopsy, and radiation therapy is the definitive treatment of choice. The entire conjunctiva is treated. Relatively high doses (approximately 30 Gy) are required for local control, which may lead to cataract formation. Twelve patients with conjunctival lymphoma were treated at the Massachusetts General Hospital between 1979 and 1988. Ten of 12 patients presented with a unilateral lesion; 2 of 12 with bilateral lesions. Two of 12 patients were found to have systemic disease at the time of presentation. One patient developed conjunctival lymphoma 5 years after the diagnosis of generalized disease. Using electron beam, all patients were treated with a single anterior circular field to total doses ranging from 24 Gy to 30 Gy delivered in 8 to 16 fractions over 9 to 20 days. In all cases, the lens was shielded by a specially designed plastic contact lens bearing a 12 mm diameter lead shield. The lens dose was determined at varying depths beneath the shield for 6 MeV and 9 MeV electron beams and ranged from a minimum of 5% to an absolute maximum of 18% of the total dose delivered to the tumor. Local control was maintained in all patients with follow-up to 9 1/2 years. One patient relapsed distantly 3 years after treatment. One of 12 patients died of systemic disease 4 years after treatment of the ocular lesion. Two patients developed cataracts 4 and 5 years after treatment; one had bilateral cataract, although only one eye had been treated. Both patients were over 75 years old. In both cases, the cataracts were felt to be senile cataracts which are ophthalmologically and radiographically distinguishable from radiation induced lesions.

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