gms | German Medical Science

57th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery
Joint Meeting with the Japanese Neurosurgical Society

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

11 - 14 May, Essen

Management of orbital metastases

Therapie orbitaler Metastasen

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author O. Lermen - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Klinikum Duisburg
  • W. Hassler - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Klinikum Duisburg
  • U. Schick - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Klinikum Duisburg

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Japanische Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 57. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e.V. (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit der Japanischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Essen, 11.-14.05.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocSA.09.03

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 8, 2006

© 2006 Lermen et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: True orbital metastases are rare. This study presents an overview of the clinical course of 11 patients with orbital metastases treated in our centre over a period of 8 years. The surgical approach, systemic and ophthalmologic outcome and histopathology have been examined.

Methods: The surgical approach depended on the location and type of the lesion. Lateral orbitotomy was performed in 4 laterally located lesions, a transconjunctival approach in 2 medial basal intraconal lesions. Pterional intradural (1) and extradural (1) approaches were used in case of intracranial involvement or location in the apex and optic canal. Two superiorly located lesions were operated via a supraorbital approach. One extraconal metastasis with frontobasal extension was approached subfrontally.

Results: The commonest primary cancers metastasizing to the orbit were lung cancer (5) and breast cancer (3). Six patients had no history of malignancy and one primary cancer site remained obscure despite careful systemic evaluation. Three patients showed recurrent tumour growth despite chemo- and / or radiotherapy. The mean survival time was 15 months after diagnosis of orbital metastasis. Ophthalmologic results were improvement in 4, no change in 6 and worsening of ophthalmologic signs in 1 patient.

Conclusions: The systemic prognosis of patients with orbital metastasis is generally poor. A multidisciplinary treatment is required. Therapeutic options include surgical biopsy, debulking or excision, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.