Purpose: The aim of this study was to review the literature with regard to perianal Bowen's disease and anal intraepithelial neoplasia.
Methods: A literature review was conducted from 1960 to 1999 using MEDLINE.
Results: Perianal Bowen's disease and anal intraepithelial neoplasia are precursors to squamous carcinoma of the anus. They are analogous to and are associated with cervical and vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia, and have human papillomavirus as a common cause. Biopsy and histopathologic examination is required for diagnosis and to distinguish other perianal dermatoses. Treatment options range from aggressive wide local excision of all disease with negative margins to observation alone for microscopic lesions not visible to the naked eye. The disease has a proclivity for recurrence and recalcitrance.
Conclusions: Most surgeons caring for patients with perianal Bowen's disease and high-grade anal epithelial neoplasia use wide local excision, with an effort to obtain disease-free margins. Some authors have reported the advantages of ablative procedures such as laser ablation and cryotherapy. Microscopic disease found serendipitously in hemorrhoidectomy specimens can probably be treated conservatively with serial examinations alone. There is a lack of controlled data supporting an optimal treatment strategy. A multicenter controlled study comparing wide local excision with ablative procedures may be warranted.