Toluidine blue 0.05% vital staining for the diagnosis of ocular surface squamous neoplasia in Kenya.
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IMPORTANCE: Clinical features are unreliable for distinguishing ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN) from benign conjunctival lesions. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the adverse effects, accuracy, and interobserver variation of toluidine blue 0.05% vital staining in distinguishing OSSN, confirmed by histopathology, from other conjunctival lesions. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional study in Kenya from July 2012 through July 2014 of 419 adults with suspicious conjunctival lesions. Pregnant and breastfeeding women were excluded. EXPOSURES: Comprehensive ophthalmic slitlamp examination was conducted. Vital staining with toluidine blue 0.05% aqueous solution was performed before surgery. Initial safety testing was conducted on large tumors scheduled for exenteration looking for corneal toxicity on histology before testing smaller tumors. We asked about pain or discomfort after staining and evaluated the cornea at the slitlamp for epithelial defects. Lesions were photographed before and after staining. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Diagnosis was confirmed by histopathology. Six examiners assessed photographs from a subset of 100 consecutive participants for staining and made a diagnosis of OSSN vs non-OSSN. Staining was compared with histopathology to estimate sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values. Adverse effects were enumerated. Interobserver agreement was estimated using the κ statistic. RESULTS: A total of 143 of 419 participants (34%) had OSSN by histopathology. The median age of all participants was 37 years (interquartile range, 32-45 years) and 278 (66%) were female. A total of 322 of the 419 participants had positive staining while 2 of 419 were equivocal. There was no histological evidence of corneal toxicity. Mild discomfort was reported by 88 (21%) and mild superficial punctate keratopathy seen in 7 (1.7%). For detecting OSSN, toluidine blue had a sensitivity of 92% (95% CI, 87%-96%), specificity of 31% (95% CI, 25%-36%), positive predictive value of 41% (95% CI, 35%-46%), and negative predictive value of 88% (95% CI, 80%-94%). Interobserver agreement was substantial for staining (κ = 0.76) and moderate for diagnosis (κ = 0.40). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: With the high sensitivity and low specificity for OSSN compared with histopathology among patients with conjunctival lesions, toluidine blue 0.05% vital staining is a good screening tool. However, it is not a good diagnostic tool owing to a high frequency of false-positives. The high negative predictive value suggests that a negative staining result indicates that OSSN is relatively unlikely.
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