Spontaneous regression of presumed ocular surface squamous neoplasia: A report of 8 cases

Eur J Ophthalmol. 2022 Sep;32(5):3029-3034. doi: 10.1177/11206721211057340. Epub 2021 Nov 6.


Purpose: To report the phenomenon of spontaneous regression in presumed ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN).

Methods: Retrospective chart review of clinically diagnosed cases of OSSN during 2016 to 2019.

Results: Of the 449 OSSN lesions, spontaneous regression was seen in 8 lesions (2%). The mean age at diagnosis of OSSN was 37 years (median, 36 years; range, 21 to 59 years). All were males with unilateral, treatment-naïve tumors. Mean duration of symptoms was 3 months (median, 2 months; range, 1 to 12 months). All tumors arose within the interpalpebral region, located in the nasal quadrant in 88% (n = 7) and in temporal quadrant in 12% (n = 1). The mean tumor diameter was 4 mm (median, 4 mm; range, 3 to 5 mm). Lesions showed nodular (n = 4; 50%) or placoid (n = 4; 50%) morphology. The other features included keratin production and intrinsic vascularity (n = 8; 100%), feeder vessels (n = 4; 50%), and intratumoral pigmentation (n = 4; 50%). The diagnosis of OSSN was confirmed by classic anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) features. Tumors regressed after a mean period of 5 months (median, 4 months; range, <1 to 17 months) from presumed onset and a mean period of 2 months (median, 1 month; range, <1 to 6 months) from presentation to the clinic. No recurrences were noted at a mean follow up of 37 months (median, 35 months; range, 17 to 52 months) after spontaneous regression of tumors.

Conclusion: OSSN can spontaneously regress in 2% of cases. Immune-mediated reversal of dysplastic changes may explain this phenomenon.

Précis: In this study, spontaneous regression of presumed ocular surface squamous neoplasia was noted in 2% patients. Tumor regression resulted in restoration of normal epithelial architecture and no recurrences were observed during the follow-up period.

Keywords: conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia; eye; ocular surface squamous neoplasia; spontaneous regression; spontaneous resolution; tumor.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / pathology
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Eye Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods