Interferon α for the treatment of melanocytic conjunctival lesions

Oculoplastics and Orbit

DOI: 10.1007/s00417-009-1189-0

Cite this article as:
Herold, T.R. & Hintschich, C. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol (2010) 248: 111. doi:10.1007/s00417-009-1189-0



To evaluate the effect of topical interferon α-2b therapy in the treatment of melanocytic conjunctival lesions.


Non-comparative prospective case series.


Nine patients with histologically proven acquired melanosis with atypia and/or conjunctival melanoma were treated with recombinant IFN α-2b (Intron A, Essex Pharma, Luzern, Switzerland). The agent was diluted under sterile conditions to one million international units per ml Intron A and packed in single-dose units (EDO) by the pharmacy. It was stored in the refrigerator and applied 5 × 1 drop/day topically by the patient for 6 weeks. The patients were seen after 2 weeks and after the end of the treatment. Endpoint of the treatment was the complete regression of pigmentation or absence of cytological atypia in a re-biopsy.


Seven lesions of nine patients showed regression and lost pigmentation. Three patients required a second cycle after the first therapy because of incomplete regression and one patient needed a third cycle of interferon. Only one of the patients needed a fourth cycle of therapy and additional surgery to show stable regression. The follow-up is 24.8 months (median). No local or systemic side-effects were encountered. The pre- and post-treatment photos of two cases will be presented.


Our observations suggest that topical interferon α-2b might be an effective agent for the adjuvant treatment of melanocytic conjunctival tumors without side-effects. It might be an alternative to other more toxic chemotherapeutical agents. A prospective multicenter study will help to finally evaluate the potential of topical interferon therapy for melanocytic conjunctival tumors, in particular PAM with atypia and minimal invasive conjunctival melanoma.


Primary acquired melanosis Conjunctival melanoma Interferon alpha Conjunctival lesion 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyLudwig-Maximilians-University of MunichMunichGermany

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