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Clinical factors associated with malignancy and HIV status in patients with ocular surface squamous neoplasia at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Tanzania
  1. Irma Illyes Makupa1,
  2. Britta Swai2,
  3. William Uforo Makupa1,
  4. Valerie A White3,
  5. Susan Lewallen4
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Moshi, Tanzania
  2. 2Department of Pathology, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Moshi, Tanzania
  3. 3Department of Pathology, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  4. 4Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO), Good Samaritan Foundation, Moshi, Tanzania
  1. Correspondence to Dr Irma Illyes Makupa, Department of Ophthalmology, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), PO Box 3010, Moshi, Tanzania; miirmi{at}


Aims To describe the clinical characteristics of ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN) in a sub-Saharan referral hospital setting according to histopathological diagnosis and HIV status.

Methods All patients were enrolled who presented consecutively to the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College eye department with lesions suspected to be OSSN from September 2005 to May 2007 and from February 2008 to September 2008. Clinical characteristics were documented on a standardised form, excision biopsies were performed and histopathological diagnosis was obtained on all cases. Data were analysed to look for associations among various factors.

Results 150 patients were enrolled. Histopathological study showed OSSN in 88% of cases. Of these, 128 (85.6%) were under the age of 50 years and 60% were HIV positive. The median CD4 cell count was 71 cells/μl among HIV-positive cases. Independent of size, the lesions of patients who were HIV positive were more likely to be higher grade malignancy than those who were HIV negative.

Conclusion In a sub-Saharan setting, OSSN occurs in persons who are younger than in industrialised countries and is often associated with HIV positivity. CD4 cell counts indicate that a majority of HIV-positive patients with OSSN are significantly immunosuppressed at presentation. Higher grade malignancy in this group could indicate a more aggressive course.

  • CD4
  • HIV
  • neoplasia
  • OSSN
  • Tanzania

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  • Funding Fogarty International Center paid for the cost of the histopathological examinations.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was received from the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College Ethical Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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