Topical Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia Therapy a Feasible Option

Squamous Cell Papilloma
Squamous cell papilloma of the conjunctiva.
A case series shows the potential for pegIFN-α-2a treatments for patients with noninvasive OSSN.

A case series shows that topical pegylated interferon alpha 2a (PegIFN-α-2a) treatment could be a treatment option for patients with noninvasive ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN), according to findings published in Cornea.

This case series reviewed records of patients (N=8) with noninvasive OSSN at the Samsung Medical Center in South Korea between 2018 and 2019. Noninvasive OSSN was defined as disease limited to the corneal and/or conjunctival epithelium.

Patient 1 was a 68-year-old man who had a conjunctival mass recurrence 9 years after receiving treatment for a conjunctival squamous papilloma. He had previously responded to topical interferon alpha 2a (IFN-α-2a) and was given IFN-α-2a therapy again. The lesion regressed; however, the drug was discontinued at 3 months of treatment. The patient was switched to 20 μg/mL PegIFN-α-2a drops 4 times daily due to its similarity to IFN-α-2a. The patient had complete resolution at 3 months with no recurrence at 6 months.

Patient 2 was a 46-year-old man with a history of acute myeloid leukemia. A 5×4 mm gelatinous lesion was found in the lateral limbal area of the left eye. Similar to patient 1, patient 2 was given IFN-α-2a and switched to PegIFN-α-2a due to discontinuation. The lesion dramatically regressed after 4 months of PegIFN-α-2a treatment.

Patient 6 was a 66-year-old man with lung cancer who presented with an OSSN recurrence. The patient was found to have a 7×6 mm limbal lesion in the inferior nasal quadrant of the left eye. He was treated with topical PegIFN-α-2a and was scheduled for surgical resection. The tumor reduced in size after 2 months of treatment and at 4 months of PegIFN-α-2a therapy, the lesion reduced further such that the resection surgery was canceled. The lesion resolved with 6 months of treatment.

Among the remaining 5 patients, similar findings were reported, in which a regimen of 20 μg/mL PegIFN-α-2a drops 4 times daily was well-tolerated and resulted in lesion reduction and resolution.

The major limitation of this case series was the short follow-up duration. It remains unclear what the long-term recurrence rates are following PegIFN-α-2a treatment.

The study authors concluded that topical PegIFN-α-2a drops appeared to manage ocular surface tumors and could be considered as a feasible treatment option for patients with noninvasive OSSN.


Park J, Han J, Chung T-Y, Lim DH, Choi CY. Pegylated interferon alpha 2a for the treatment of ocular surface squamous neoplasia. Cornea. Published online July 5, 2022. doi:10.1097/ICO.0000000000003086