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Conjunctival Melanoma in Australia

The incidence of conjunctival melanoma (CJM) increased in Australia during the period from 1982 to 2014; however, the survival rate remained the same at a mean of 90%, according to a new paper published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 1

A rare form of mucosal melanoma, CJM comprises around 5% to 7% of all ocular melanomas, affecting approximately 0.8 men and 0.4 women per million per year in Australia. Ultraviolet radiation is believed to be a main driver of DNA damage.

With increasing rates of detection yet no report on CJM in Australia since the early 2000s, a team from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia set out to examine changes in the incidence and mortality of CJM in Australia from 1982 to 2014.

Led by Dr Aaron Beasley, the researchers extracted deidentified CJM cases from all cases of ocular melanoma from the Australian Cancer Database for the study period.

In 299 CJM cases, the “agestandardised incidence rate was 0.48 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.41 to 0.54) per million per year. Women (0.52, 95% CI = 0.42 to 0.62) had a higher incidence than men (0.42, 95% CI = 0.33 to 0.51). The incidence of conjunctival melanoma increased in men (+1.46%) and significantly women (+1.41%, P = 0.023) over the study period. The mean 5-, 10-, and 15- year disease-specific survival were 90%, 82%, and 80%, respectively, during the 33-year interval.”

There were no significant differences in survival among age, sex, or state.


  1. Beasley A.B., Preen D.B., Chen F.K., et al., Incidence and mortality of conjunctival melanoma in Australia (1982 to 2014). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2023;64(14):2. DOI: org/10.1167/iovs.64.14.2.