Topical interferon alfa-2b for the treatment of recalcitrant ocular surface squamous neoplasia

Am J Ophthalmol. 2006 Oct;142(4):568-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2006.05.058.


Purpose: To evaluate topical interferon alfa-2b (IFN-alpha2b) for the treatment of recalcitrant ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN).

Design: Prospective, noncomparative, interventional consecutive case series.

Methods: Ten patients with recalcitrant OSSN were treated with topical IFN-alpha2b (1 million IU/ml) four times a day until clinical resolution of the lesion or until the lesion appeared nonresponsive-that is, treatment failure. Progress was assessed by clinical examination and photographic records, with a minimum follow-up of six months.

Results: Eight of 10 patients achieved clinical resolution from topical IFN-alpha2b treatment. One patient developed invasive squamous cell carcinoma and underwent exenteration. The other patient required further mitomycin C therapy to achieve clinical resolution. The mean duration to clinical resolution for the eight patients treated with IFN-alpha2b was 21.9 weeks (range six to 59 weeks). There have been no recurrences for any of the nine patients during follow-up (mean 55.0 weeks; range 26 to 84 weeks).

Conclusions: Topical IFN-alpha2b is an important treatment modality for recalcitrant OSSN; it avoids the risks of further limbal stem cell destruction from other agents and surgical excision. If invasive disease is diagnosed at any stage, topical therapy is contraindicated, necessitating surgical excision.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Corneal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Corneal Diseases / pathology
  • Eye Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Eye Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins