Aim - To evaluate the efficacy of topical 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) alone, without concurrent surgery or radiotherapy, for the treatment of conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma. Methods - Eight patients affected by conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma (three recurrent cases, three incompletely excised, and two untreated cases) were treated with 1% 5-FU eye drops. Topical 1% 5-FU was administered four times daily for 4 weeks tone course). Clinical examination (biomicroscopy and photography) and morphological evaluation of conjunctival cytological specimens were used to monitor the efficacy of local chemotherapy, side effects, and recurrences. Results - All patients showed clinical regression of conjunctival carcinoma after topical 1% 5-FU treatment. Neoplastic conjunctiva was completely replaced by normal epithelium within 3 months. Mean follow up was 27 months. One patient needed two courses of local chemotherapy for recurrent disease. An acute transient toxic keratoconjunctivitis was observed in all treated cases; it was easily controlled with topical therapy. No long term side effects were found. Conclusions - Topical 1% 5-FU is effective in the treatment of recurrent, incompletely excised, and selected untreated conjunctival squamous cell carcinomas. Topical 1% 5-FU has no major complications. This study suggests that topical conjunctival chemotherapy with 1% 5-FU may be useful, at least as adjunctive therapy, in the treatment of conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma.
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