Soluble HLA in the aqueous humour as risk factor or a marker of inflammation in uveal melanoma

A recent study shows that the analysis of the liquid produced inside of the eye, the aqueous humor, could help in the management of patients with uveal melanoma.

Soluble HLA in the aqueous humour as risk factor or a marker of inflammation in uveal melanoma

 

A recent study shows that the analysis of the liquid produced inside of the eye, the aqueous humor, could help in the management of patients with uveal melanoma.

Uveal melanoma, although rare, is the most common cancer that arises in the eye. Unfortunately, there is no current effective treatment for the metastatic form of uveal melanoma, being a hot-topic in research at the moment. By analyzing uveal melanoma cells in the laboratory (obtained through a biopsy), the cancer can be classified in terms of the risk of developing metastatic disease quiet accurately.

This eye cancer originates in a specific layer of the eye, the uvea, which is responsible for the nourishment of the structures inside of the eye. The aqueous humor is a clear liquid produced in a specific part of the uvea that is called the ciliary body, and besides helping maintaining eye shape, the aqueous humor also has nutrients and different components in its constitution.

 

The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) is a “badge” that cells wear in order to be identified by our immune system as dangerous to the body or not. Scientist have found that HLA concentration in the aqueous humor can be an indicator of the presence of a more aggressive type of uveal melanoma.

 

 

This can be especially helpful for patients whose treatment did not involved the removal of the eye, as said by Dr. Annemijn Wierenga: “Studying factors in aqueous humor may lead to surprising findings and analyses should be expanded to cases undergoing local treatment instead of enucleation“. In these cases, it is more challenging to get a biopsy from the cancer, and hence to inform the patient of the aggressiveness of the disease.