Topical 5-Fluorouracil 1% as Primary Treatment for Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia

Madhura G. Joag, Adam Sise, Juan Carlos Murillo, Ibrahim Osama Sayed-Ahmed, James R. Wong, Carolina Mercado, Anat Galor, Carol Karp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the efficacy of topical 5-fluorouracil 1% (5-FU) as a primary treatment of ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN). Design: Retrospective study. Participants: Topical 5-FU was used as primary therapy in 44 patients with OSSN. Methods: 5-Fluorouracil 1% administered topically 4 times daily for 1 week followed by a drug holiday of 3 weeks. Patients were identified through a pharmacy database. Patients were excluded if 5-FU was used as adjuvant therapy, if they did not complete therapy, or if they were still actively receiving treatment for OSSN at the time of last follow-up. Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measures were the frequency of complete resolution with topical 5-FU treatment and the rate of OSSN recurrence. Results: Of the 44 patients identified, 32 were men and 12 were women. The mean age was 68 years. Complete resolution of OSSN was noted in 82% of patients (36/44); 18% (8/44) were considered treatment nonresponders. Patients were treated with a median of 4 cycles (range, 2-9 cycles). Nasal location was the only risk factor identified for nonresponse to therapy (P = 0.04). The median follow-up after resolution was 10 months (range, 2-77 months). In the 36 patients who showed complete resolution, 4 experienced tumor recurrence. Recurrence rates at 1 and 2 years were 6% and 15%, respectively, using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. At least 1 side effect from the medication was reported by 61% of patients (21/44), but only 1 patient discontinued the medication because of intolerance. The most common side effect was pain (n = 17; 39%), followed by tearing (n = 10; 23%), photophobia (n = 6; 14%), itching (n = 4; 9%), swelling (n = 2; 5%), and infection (n = 1; 2%). No long-term complications were reported. Conclusions: 5-Fluorouracil is effective and well tolerated as a primary treatment for OSSN, with 82% of tumors responding completely to therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - Dec 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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