Topical chemotherapy for ocular surface squamous neoplasia

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2013 Jul;24(4):336-42. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e3283622a13.


Purpose of review: Ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN) is an umbrella term for a spectrum of epithelial dysplasias of the cornea, conjunctiva, and limbus. Treatment for OSSN has historically been surgery, but nonsurgical interventions have been increasingly adopted. Advantages of medical treatments include the ability to treat the entire ocular surface and prevention of surgical complications.

Recent findings: The primary medical treatments for OSSN include mitomycin C, 5-fluorouracil, and interferon α2b. Mitomycin C has been shown in studies to be highly effective but has short-term and long-term side-effects that may be intolerable. 5-Fluorouracil and interferon α2b have been found to be similar in efficacy to mitomycin, with interferon being extremely well tolerated in the majority of patients. Most recently, other chemotherapeutic agents have been tried for OSSN including antivascular endothelial growth factor agents and vitamin A. The data regarding these latter treatment strategies are still limited.

Summary: An understanding of the recent literature, with respect to the efficacy, advantages, and disadvantages of the various therapies for OSSN will allow us to tailor treatment to each patient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / pathology
  • Corneal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Corneal Diseases / pathology
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage
  • Mitomycin / therapeutic use
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Mitomycin
  • Fluorouracil