Ocular Oncology

HMS Ophthalmology Center of ExcellenceCenter of Excellence

Ocular oncology involves the study and treatment of tumors that occur in or around the eye. These tumors may cause vision loss or loss of the eye itself; some tumors are potentially fatal, while others may be benign yet severely disfiguring. 

Ocular Oncology Center of Excellence

Ivana K. Kim, MD
Bruce R. Ksander, PhD
See a list of Ocular Oncology faculty

Researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear have made groundbreaking advances in the field of ocular oncology. These include the identification and isolation of the retinoblastoma (Rb) gene, the first known tumor-suppressor gene, which formed an important cornerstone in the molecular basis of cancer. Our department is also credited with the development of proton beam irradiation, the gold standard of treatment for uveal melanoma. Ongoing research efforts include studies of cancer susceptibility genes and biomarkers, innovative surgical techniques for ocular malignacies, and developing new therapeutic strategies for retinoblastoma and other ocular cancers.

Major Research Breakthoughs

  • Conducted the first adjuvant trial investigating the role of interferon for reducing the risk of metastasis from uveal melanoma
  • Contributed to the characterization of BAP1 tumor predisposition syndrome and defined the prevalence of germline BAP1 mutations in patients with uveal melanoma
  • Evaluated the role of antivascular endothelial growth factor therapy in preventing vision loss due to radiation retinopathy in patients with choroidal melanoma
  • Performed first in-human study of a novel targeted therapy for uveal melanoma
  • Investigated inhibitory effect of verteporfin on various tumor cell lines

2020 Vision: Promising Areas For Future Research

Looking to the future, our investigators aim to identify new biomarkers for earlier detection of metastatic ocular melanoma, develop adjuvant therapies, and improve visual outcomes after ocular melanoma treatment.