Current treatment options for management of anal intraepithelial neoplasia
Stephen E Weis1,2
1Division of Dermatology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, 2Preventive Medicine Clinic, Tarrant County Public Health, Fort Worth, TX, USA
Abstract: Anal squamous cell cancer is an uncommon malignancy caused by infection with oncogenic strains of Human papilloma virus. Anal cancer is much more common in immunocompromised persons, including those infected with Human immunodeficiency virus. High-grade anal intraepithelial neoplasia (HGAIN), the precursor of anal cancer, is identified by clinicians providing care for patients with anorectal disease, and is increasingly being identified during screening of immunosuppressed patients for anal dysplasia. The traditional treatment for HGAIN has been excision of macroscopic disease with margins. This approach is effective for patients with small unifocal HGAIN lesions. Patients with extensive multifocal HGAIN frequently have recurrence of HGAIN after excision, and may have postoperative complications of anal stenosis or fecal incontinence. This led to the suggestion by some that treatment for HGAIN should be delayed until patients developed anal cancer. Alternative approaches in identification and treatment have been developed to treat patients with multifocal or extensive HGAIN lesions. High-resolution anoscopy combines magnification with anoscopy and is being used to identify HGAIN and determine treatment margins. HGAIN can then be ablated with a number of modalities, including infrared coagulation, CO2 laser, and electrocautery. These methods for HGAIN ablation can be performed with local anesthesia on outpatients and are relatively well tolerated. High-resolution anoscopy-directed HGAIN ablation is evolving into a standard approach for initial treatment and then subsequent monitoring of a disease which should be expected to be recurrent. Another treatment approach for HGAIN is topical treatment, principally with 5-fluorouracil or imiquimod. Topical therapies have the advantage of being nonsurgical and are well suited for treating widespread multifocal disease. Topical treatments have the disadvantage of requiring extended treatment courses and causing a symptomatic inflammatory response. Successful treatment requires adherence to a regime that is uncomfortable at best and at worst painful. Topical treatments can be successful in motivated adherent patients willing to accept these side effects.
Keywords: human papilloma virus, anal dysplasia, anal cancer, high-resolution anoscopy, infrared coagulation, perianal dermatosis
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