Periocular Melanoma in Situ Treated with Imiquimod

Maxwell D. Elia*, Sara E. Lally, Allison M. Hanlon, Jennifer N. Choi, Juan J. Servat, Jerry A. Shields, Carol L. Shields, Flora Levin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of topical 5% imiquimod cream in the treatment of periocular melanoma in situ (lentigo maligna). Design: Retrospective case series. Subjects: There were 12 patients in this series, and the mean patient age was 77 years. The anatomical locations were the lower eyelid (n=5), upper and lower eyelid (n=4), lower eyelid including the eyelid margin (n=1), brow (n=1), and the medial canthus (n=1). Topical 5% imiquimod cream was used as a primary treatment (n=6) or as an adjunctive therapy following local excision (n=2), cryotherapy (n=2), or excisional biopsy with cryotherapy (n=2). Methods: Twelve patients with periocular melanoma in situ were treated with topical 5% imiquimod cream daily for a mean treatment period of 3.9 months. The clinical features of the patients and the responses to treatment were evaluated in a retrospective case series. Main Outcome Measures: Histologic clearance of atypical melanocytes. Results: Eleven patients achieved complete histologic clearance of atypical melanocytes on post-treatment biopsy. One patient could not tolerate local irritation from imiquimod and stopped in the first month of therapy with residual disease. The median follow-up time was 1.5 years. Side effects included redness (n=12), discomfort (n=6), swelling (n=4), ectropion (n=1), and conjunctival chemosis (n=1). The patients experienced no systemic side effects from the treatment. Conclusions: Topical 5% imiquimod cream is an effective option as primary or adjunct therapy in the treatment of periocular melanoma in situ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-373
Number of pages3
JournalOphthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology


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