Purpose: The purpose of the study was to elucidate the natural history of corneal-conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and suggest treatment and follow-up guidelines.
Methods: The records of all histologically proven cases of CIN at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital between 1979 and 1994 were reviewed.
Results: Seventy-nine eyes of 76 patients had a pathologic diagnosis of CIN and were observed for up to 15 years. The lesion recurred in 31 eyes (39%) overall. There was no statistical difference shown in the likelihood of recurrence based on histologic classification. Complete excision was attempted in each case. In 18 eyes, dysplastic cells were evident at the excision margin. Ten (56%) of these tumors recurred, compared to a 33% recurrence rate in completely excised lesions. The time to the first recurrence ranged from 33.0 days to 11.5 years between the first and second surgeries, with 11 lesions recurring after more than 4 years. Incompletely excised lesions reappeared more rapidly (average, 2.5 years) than did those with clear surgical margins (average, 3.8 years). Seven cases progressed to invasive squamous cell carcinoma and four cases led to blindness or removal of the eye.
Conclusions: This study suggests that excision margin at the time of surgery is the most important factor in predicting recurrence. The slow growth of the recurrent lesions combined with the ever-present malignant potential leads the authors to suggest that all patients with a history of CIN warrant annual follow-up for the remainder of their lives.