The 1998 Pan American Lecture. Intraocular invasion of conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma in five patients

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 1999 May;15(3):153-60. doi: 10.1097/00002341-199905000-00003.


Purpose: To report five patients with intraocular invasion of conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma and to make recommendations regarding clinical recognition and treatment of this condition.

Methods: The authors reviewed the clinical records and pathology slides on five patients who had intraocular invasion of conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma, and they describe the presenting features and histopathology in these cases.

Results: Intraocular invasion of conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma occurred in older patients who had one or more recurrences of a previously excised conjunctival epithelial tumor located near the comeoscleral limbus. The intraocular recurrence often was heralded by the onset of low-grade inflammation and secondary glaucoma, simulating a granulomatous iridocyclitis. A white mass generally was observed in the anterior chamber angle. Histopathologic examination revealed an ingrowth of malignant epithelial cells through the limbus with diffuse involvement of the anterior segment of the eye. The reported patients were managed by modified enucleation (standard enucleation with excision of affected conjunctival tissue). Metastatic disease did not develop in any of the patients.

Conclusions: The onset of signs of uveitis and glaucoma and a white mass in the anterior chamber angle in a patient with prior excision of a conjunctival squamous cell neoplasm tumor should raise suspicion of intraocular recurrence of conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma. Most affected patients require enucleation or subtotal orbital exenteration. The prognosis is good.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Lecture
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anterior Eye Segment / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / surgery
  • Eye Enucleation
  • Female
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Iridocyclitis / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness