Immunobiology of uveal melanoma

M. J. Jager, J. Y. Niederkorn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Uveal melanoma is the most common malignant intraocular tumor in adults. The malignancy of uveal melanoma is correlated with its capacity to metastasize to distant organs. Indeed, liver metastasis remains the leading cause of death in uveal melanoma patients. Although primary uveal melanomas can be effectively treated with surgery or radiotherapy, there is no known therapeutic modality with proven efficacy in prolonging life or ameliorating liver metastases. Sadly, the 5-year mortality rate for uveal melanoma patients has not changed in the past 30 years. Although uveal melanoma cells express tumor-specific antigens that can elicit immune responses, the tumors escape immune elimination due to the sanctuary provided by the immune privilege of the eye. Once uveal melanoma cells metastasize to the liver, they enter an immunologically hostile environment. However, mounting evidence suggests that uveal melanoma cells adopt many of the properties and mechanisms that contribute to immune privilege in the eye and thereby create ad hoc immune privilege at the metastatic site. Although uveal melanomas have multiple immune escape mechanisms, new insights into the nature of immune privilege offer glimmers of hope for the development of novel and effective immunotherapeutic strategies for treating this blinding and deadly neoplasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of the Eye
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123742032
ISBN (Print)9780123741981
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Antigen
  • Complement
  • HLA
  • Immune defense
  • Immune surveillance
  • Metastases
  • NK cells
  • T cell
  • Tumor
  • Uveal melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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