Skip Navigation LinksHome > May 2009 - Volume 4 - Issue 5 > Complete and Durable Response of Choroid Metastasis from Non...
Journal of Thoracic Oncology:
doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e31819c9a73
Case Report

Complete and Durable Response of Choroid Metastasis from Non-small Cell Lung Cancer with Systemic Bevacizumab and Chemotherapy

George, Ben MD*; Wirostko, William J. MD†; Connor, Thomas B. MD†; Choong, Nicholas W. MD*

Free Access
Article Outline
Collapse Box

Author Information

*Division of Neoplastic Diseases, and †Department of Ophthalmology, Eye Institute, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Disclosure: Thomas B. Connor has received honorium from Genentech as a speaker.

Address for correspondence: Nicholas W. Choong, MD, Division of Neoplastic Diseases, Medical College of Wisconsin, 9200 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53226. E-mail:

Collapse Box


Ocular metastasis from lung cancer is uncommon. We report a patient with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer who was found to have a metastatic lesion in the choroid at the time of presentation. The patient was treated with carboplatin, gemcitabine, and bevacizumab. After three cycles of chemotherapy, radiologic imaging and ophthalmologic examination demonstrated complete resolution of the choroid lesion. This case report demonstrates the durable response of choroidal metastasis from non-small cell lung cancer to systemic bevacizumab and chemotherapy.

A 42-year-old woman with newly diagnosed metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (poorly differentiated large cell carcinoma) presented with 1 week history of blurred vision in her right eye and metamorphopsia where flat surfaces appeared curved. A computerized tomography scan of the neck and chest performed at initial presentation had revealed multiple left pulmonary masses, a right upper lobe lesion as well as enlarged left anterior cervical, bilateral supraclavicular, mediastinal, prevascular, paratracheal, and subcarinal lymph nodes. Pathologic diagnosis of poorly differentiated large cell carcinoma was obtained from core-needle biopsy of the left anterior cervical lymph node. Brain magnetic resonance imaging revealed a metastatic lesion in the choroid of the right globe (Figure 1A). Ophthalmology evaluation of the right fundus showed a 12 × 12 mm amelanotic choroidal tumor at the fovea and temporal macula with overlying subretinal fluid and an associated inferior exudative retinal detachment (Figure 1B). Tumor height was 6.3 mm with high internal reflectivity on ocular echography.

Figure 1
Figure 1
Image Tools

Systemic chemotherapy was initiated. After her first cycle of carboplatin, gemcitabine, and bevacizumab, she experienced improvement in visual symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging after cycle 3 of chemotherapy showed complete resolution of the choroid lesion (Figure 2A), coinciding with improvement in her vision (Figure 2B) and disease response systemically. Subsequently, she completed six cycles of chemotherapy and attained a partial response in her lung mass. At the time of this report she was alive with normal vision and receiving her seventh maintenance dose of every 3 week bevacizumab without experiencing systemic or ocular toxicity.

Figure 2
Figure 2
Image Tools
Back to Top | Article Outline


The highly vascular uveal tract is the most common part of the eye involved by metastases.1 Within the uvea, the choroid (88%) is the most commonly affected site followed by the iris (9%) and ciliary body (2%).2 Breast and lung cancers are the predominant tumors to metastasize to the uvea,2,3 and between 67 and 88% of patients have metastatic lesions elsewhere at the time of diagnosis of ocular involvement.4

Although fine-needle aspiration biopsy can be used to establish the diagnosis; the choroidal tumor characteristics, presence of distant metastases, and patient history were sufficient to infer the diagnosis of choroidal metastasis in this case.

Treatment for orbital and ocular adnexal metastases is palliative because the presence of such metastases suggests hematogenous spread of cancer. In line with this, the aims for treatment are to maximize quality of life, and restore or preserve vision. This may be achieved with either radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Surgery has not played an important role (other than diagnostic biopsy, if needed) as surgery carries great potential morbidity and often there is no need for tumor debulking.

External beam radiotherapy in the range of 20 to 50 Gy has been commonly used5 and achieves symptom relief although controlling tumor growth. This modality is particularly applicable for large tumors that involve the optic nerve/macula and cause substantial visual disturbance. Visual preservation after external beam radiotherapy may be only for the short-term because potential long-term side effects include cataract formation and radiation retinopathy.5 Radioactive plaque therapy may be used for single small to medium-sized tumors.6

Systemic chemotherapy is effective in treating ocular metastases especially in chemosensitive tumors such as small cell lung cancer. Several case reports have shown that chemotherapy is efficacious for choroid metastases from non-small cell lung cancer.7,8 In our case, standard platinum doublet chemotherapy was used as the initial and primary treatment because the patient has other concurrent sites of metastatic disease which require simultaneous attention.

Intravitreal bevacizumab monotherapy has been used to treat choroid metastases.9,10 Both reports demonstrated antiangiogenic and antipermeability effects of bevacizumab on the new tumor vessels by fluorescein angiography. These observations suggest the obligate and vital dependence of choroidal tumors on angiogenesis. This forms the rationale for the use of systemic bevacizumab in our patient, apart from the fact that a platinum doublet in combination with bevacizumab is standard therapy in the United States. Furthermore, systemic administration of bevacizumab was chosen over intravitreal injections due to its greater potential to produce effective chemotherapy concentrations around the metastasis via the rich choroidal blood supply which is within the systemic circulation and not protected by the blood-retina barrier.

To our knowledge this is the first case demonstrating that the efficacy and safety of systemic bevacizumab in combination with a platinum doublet for choroid metastasis resulting in symptomatic improvement and durable control of the tumor with minimal ocular or systemic toxicity.

Back to Top | Article Outline


Supported, in part, by an unrestricted grant from the Research to Prevent Blindness Inc, New York, New York.

Back to Top | Article Outline


1. Freedman MI, Folk JC. Metastatic tumors to the eye and orbit. Patient survival and clinical characteristics. Arch Ophthalmol 1987;105:1215–1219.

2. Shields CL, Shields JA, Gross NE, Schwartz GP, Lally SE. Survey of 520 eyes with uveal metastases. Ophthalmology 1997;104:1265–1276.

3. Soysal HG. Metastatic tumors of the uvea in 38 eyes. Can J Ophthalmol 2007;42:832–835.

4. Kanthan GL, Jayamohan J, Yip D, Conway RM. Management of metastatic carcinoma of the uveal tract: an evidence-based analysis. Clin Experiment Ophthalmol 2007;35:553–565.

5. Rosset A, Zografos L, Coucke P, et al. Radiotherapy of choroidal metastases. Radiother Oncol 1998;46:263–268.

6. Shields CL, Shields JA, De Potter P, et al. Plaque radiotherapy for the management of uveal metastasis. Arch Ophthalmol 1997;115:203–209.

7. Battikh MH, Ben Yahia S, Ben Sayah MM, et al. [Choroid metastases revealing pulmonary adenocarcioma resolved with chemotherapy]. Rev Pneumol Clin 2004;60(6 Pt 1):353–356.

8. Shields JA, Perez N, Shields CL, Foxman S, Foxman B. Simultaneous choroidal and brain metastasis as initial manifestations of lung cancer. Ophthalmic Surg Lasers 2002;33:323–325.

9. Amselem L, Cervera E, Diaz-Llopis M, et al. Intravitreal bevacizumab (Avastin) for choroidal metastasis secondary to breast carcinoma: short-term follow-up. Eye 2007;21:566–567.

10. Kuo IC, Haller JA, Maffrand R, Sambuelli RH, Reviglio VE. Regression of a subfoveal choroidal metastasis of colorectal carcinoma after intravitreous bevacizumab treatment. Arch Ophthalmol 2008;126:1311–1313.

Cited By:

This article has been cited 1 time(s).

World Journal of Surgical Oncology
Blurred vision due to choroidal metastasis as the first manifestation of lung cancer: A case report
Asteriou, C; Konstantinou, D; Kleontas, A; Paliouras, D; Samanidis, G; Papadopoulou, F; Barbetakis, N
World Journal of Surgical Oncology, 8(): -.
Back to Top | Article Outline

Choroid metastasis; Non small cell lung cancer; Bevacizumab

© 2009International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer


Article Tools



Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.

Other Ways to Connect



Visit on your smartphone. Scan this code (QR reader app required) with your phone and be taken directly to the site.

 For additional oncology content, visit LWW Oncology Journals on Facebook.