Effects of Lidocaine on Mitomycin C Cytotoxicity

Ophthalmol Glaucoma. 2021 May-Jun;4(3):330-335. doi: 10.1016/j.ogla.2020.10.011. Epub 2020 Oct 17.


Purpose: Intra-Tenon or subconjunctival injection of a solution of mitomycin C (MMC) and 1% preservative-free lidocaine (as an anesthetic) has gained popularity for its use in trabeculectomy, a filtering surgery for glaucoma. To our knowledge, no studies have analyzed the impact of lidocaine on the cytotoxic effects of MMC in this setting. This study was conducted to evaluate in vitro fibroblast cytotoxicity to a solution of MMC (0.2 mg/ml) and 1% preservative-free lidocaine.

Design: Experimental study.

Participants: Nonhuman subject research.

Methods: Cultured human conjunctival fibroblasts were incubated in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (control), MMC (0.2 mg/ml), a mixture of 0.2 mg/ml MMC + 1% preservative-free lidocaine, or 1% preservative-free lidocaine. Samples were taken at 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 minutes, and a 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay with photoabsorbance testing was used to assess conjunctival cell viability.

Main outcome measure: Mean photoabsorbance.

Results: Mean photoabsorbance across all time intervals was 0.680 for solutions incubated in PBS, 0.642 for MMC, 0.612 for MMC + 1% preservative-free lidocaine, and 0.605 for 1% preservative-free lidocaine. A 2-way analysis of variance analyzing solution, time, and solution-time interaction on photoabsorbance showed that PBS was least cytotoxic and an optimal control for this study. Tukey post hoc comparisons showed that MMC was more cytotoxic than PBS (P < 0.001). However, both MMC + 1% preservative-free lidocaine and 1% preservative-free lidocaine were more cytotoxic than MMC and PBS (P < 0.01 for all). No significant differences in cytotoxicity comparing lidocaine-containing solutions were observed.

Conclusions: In this in vitro study, we found an increase in cytotoxicity when MMC (0.2 mg/ml) was combined with 1% preservative-free lidocaine. We note that lidocaine did not inhibit MMC cytotoxicity and exhibited a significant cytotoxic effect on its own.

Keywords: Cytotoxicity; Fibroblast; Lidocaine; Mitomycin C; Trabeculectomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Glaucoma* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / pharmacology
  • Mitomycin / pharmacology
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Trabeculectomy*


  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Mitomycin
  • Lidocaine