Malignant eyelid tumours in Taiwan

J-K Wang, S-L Liao, J-R Jou, P-C Lai, S C S Kao, P-K Hou, M-S Chen
Eye 2003, 17 (2): 216-20

AIMS: To describe the clinical characteristics of patients with eyelid cancers in Taiwan.

METHODS: Between 1980 and 2000, 127 (58 males and 69 females) patients (mean age 62.6; range 10-91 years) with histologically confirmed eyelid cancers were retrospectively evaluated at the National Taiwan University Hospital and Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. Clinical data of all patients were reviewed from medical records. The mean follow-up period was 62.4 months (range 3-240) for 113 patients.

RESULTS: The 127 eyelid cancers included 79 basal cell carcinomas (62.2%), 30 sebaceous gland carcinomas (23.6%), 11 squamous cell carcinomas (8.7%), five malignant melanomas (3.9%), one Kaposi's sarcoma (0.8%), and one metastatic cancer (0.8%). Tumours developed more commonly in the lower (37.0%) than the upper eyelid (33.9%). The clinical accuracy in predicting eyelid malignancy was 90.5%. Primary treatment modality was mainly surgical excision. The recurrence, metastasis, and mortality rates at 5 years were 15.2, 11.7, and 7.3%, respectively, for all eyelid malignancies. Rates of sebaceous gland carcinoma recurrence, metastasis, and mortality were significantly higher (P<0.05) than those of basal cell carcinoma. The mean interval of recurrence or metastasis after primary treatment was 26.3 months (range 4-112) for all eyelid cancers.

CONCLUSIONS: Although basal cell carcinoma is the most common eyelid cancer in Taiwan, sebaceous gland carcinoma is also common. Of the two, basal cell carcinoma has a better prognosis and sebaceous gland carcinoma has a higher mortality and therefore should be treated much more aggressively. Long-term follow-up is needed after treatment of malignant eyelid tumours.

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