Molecularly targeted agents in oculoplastic surgery

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Purpose of review

Significant advances have been made in oncology and rheumatology with the introduction of molecularly targeted agents (MTAs). MTAs consist of monoclonal antibodies and small molecule inhibitors. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the recent applications of MTAs to orbital, lacrimal, and eyelid disease.

Recent findings

The use of monoclonal antibodies has been described in the treatment of orbital vascular lesions, lymphoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Inflammatory conditions treated with monoclonal antibodies include thyroid eye disease, IgG4 disease, and granulomatosis with polyangiitis. Immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors has also found applications to orbital disease. Use of small molecule inhibitors has been described in the treatment of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and Erdheim–Chester disease. There are many orbital, lacrimal, and eyelid side effects of MTAs with which the oculoplastic surgeon should be familiar, including hypertrichosis, edema, and orbital and eyelid inflammation.


MTAs represent the future of treatment of oncologic and inflammatory conditions. Application of these agents to orbital, lacrimal, and eyelid disease will continue to expand. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of oculoplastic disorders will facilitate additional potential pathways that could be targeted for therapy.

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