Topical mitomycin C for extensive, recurrent conjunctival-corneal squamous cell carcinoma

Am J Ophthalmol. 2002 May;133(5):601-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(02)01400-9.


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of topical mitomycin C for extensive recurrent conjunctival and corneal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Design: Interventional case series.

Methods: A prospective study was conducted in a single institution. Ten patients (ten eyes) with extensive recurrent conjunctival and corneal SCC were studied. The patients received topical mitomycin C 0.04% one drop four times daily in the eye with SCC. Treatment cycles were defined as 1 week using medication followed by 1 week without medication. Such treatment cycles were repeated until resolution of the conjunctival malignancy was clinically evident. The main outcome measures were tumor response and medication-related complications.

Results: Of the ten patients, the median age was 66 years (range 33-77 years). Before referral, the patients had undergone a median of two previous conjunctival tumor resections revealing the diagnosis of in situ SCC in three cases and locally invasive SCC in six cases. At presentation, the tumor involved the limbus and cornea in all ten eyes, forniceal conjunctiva in three eyes, and tarsal conjunctiva in one eye. The extensive tumor affected a median of 10 clock hours of limbal conjunctiva and 10 clock hours of cornea, with corneal epithelial invasion for a median of 50% (range 20%-100%) of its surface. Mitomycin C 0.04% four times daily was applied for a median of three cycles (range 1-4 cycles). Complete tumor regression was documented in all ten cases (100%). There was no recurrence over a mean follow up of 22 months (range 6-50 months). Mitomycin C caused moderate temporary local irritation and conjunctival erythema and chemosis, but no long-term intraocular or extraocular complications.

Conclusions: Based on this small series, topical mitomycin C 0.04% appears to be a safe and effective therapy for conjunctival or corneal SCC, even when there is extensive recurrent tumor.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / adverse effects
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / pathology
  • Corneal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Corneal Diseases / pathology
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Eye Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Eye Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage
  • Mitomycin / adverse effects
  • Mitomycin / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Mitomycin