Epithelial tumors

Carcinoma in situ

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Last staff update: 22 December 2020

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PubMed Search: Carcinoma in situ conjunctiva [title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Carcinoma in situ. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyeconjCIS.html. Accessed October 2nd, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Cryotherapy or topical chemotherapy is preferable to surgery to preserve goblet cells and lacrimal gland ductules and prevent a painful dry eye that may compromise vision (Klin Monbl Augenheilkd 2001;21:429)
Gross description
  • Leukoplakia or fleshy mass with increased vascularity
Gross images

AFIP images
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Circumlimbal lesion

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Full thickness changes including loss of epithelial polarity, cytologic atypia
  • Pleomorphism and mitotic figures
  • No extension of atypical cells beyond basal lamina of conjunctival epithelium
  • Resembles dysplastic changes in cervix, Bowen disease or Paget disease of skin
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images
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Full thickness atypia

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Marked nuclear pleomorphism

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Loss of polarity and high N/C ratio

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Limbal lesion with extension into cornea

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Irregular acanthosis simulating invasion

Negative stains
  • PAS (due to lack of maturation)
Differential diagnosis
  • Dysplasia: atypia is less than full thickness
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