Four cases of corneal perforation in patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease

Mol Vis. 2011 Feb 25;17:598-606.


Purpose: To report the clinical features and investigate the underlying pathological processes of spontaneous corneal perforation in patients with ocular chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD).

Methods: A full ophthalmological evaluation of corneal perforation in four patients with cGVHD was performed. Three of them underwent deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty and samples from two of three patients were used for histopathological analyses.

Results: Three patients were successfully treated by corneal transplantation. One patient was treated with a therapeutic soft contact lens, and the wound healed within 2 days. The common clinical features of these patients were (1) the presence of definite dry eye related to cGVHD in 3 of 4 patients and probable dry eye in one patient, (2) a central or paracentral site of corneal ulceration and perforation, with no sign of infection, and (3) prior use of a topical or systemic corticosteroid, and/or topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Immunohistochemical findings revealed an increased number of cluster of differentiation 68(+) (CD68(+)) macrophages and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) expression in the tissue surrounding the perforation.

Conclusions: Our report extends current information on the clinical features and pathological processes of corneal perforation in cGVHD by showing increased MMP-9 expression and the accumulation of CD68(+) positive macrophages in the affected areas.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Corneal Perforation / complications*
  • Corneal Perforation / enzymology
  • Corneal Perforation / pathology
  • Corneal Ulcer / complications
  • Corneal Ulcer / enzymology
  • Corneal Ulcer / pathology
  • Female
  • Graft vs Host Disease / complications*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9