Topical Application of Trichloroacetic Acid Is Efficacious for the Treatment of Internal Anal High-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions in HIV-Positive Men

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To assess the efficacy of topical 80% trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to treat internal anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSILs) in HIV-positive individuals.


All patients who attended the University of Pittsburgh Anal Dysplasia Clinic for treatment of biopsy-proven internal anal HSIL with topical TCA between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2012, and who had 1 or more follow-up visits to assess treatment efficacy were included in the analysis. Recurrence of HSIL was assessed in July 1, 2013.


A total of 98 HSILs from 72 patients were treated, and 77 (78.6%) resolved to normal epithelium or low-grade SIL during follow-up. Forty-eight (49.0%) and 27 (27.6%) of lesions resolved with 1 and 2 TCA treatments, respectively, whereas 1 lesion (1%) each resolved with 3 and 4 TCA treatments. Twenty-one (21.4%) lesions in 20 patients remained without resolution after TCA treatments. These patients were offered an alternative treatment. During follow-up, 8 (15.1%) of 53 patients had a lesion that recurred at the index site (11/53 [20.8%], inclusive of adjacent lesions) and 17 patients had new lesions diagnosed.


Topical TCA is an efficacious treatment of internal anal HSIL in an anal dysplasia clinic setting with high-resolution anoscopy capacity. Advantages of TCA for this recurrent disease process include the following: low cost, no requirement for special equipment beyond that for high-resolution anoscopy, and painless application procedure. A larger prospective comparative study would better define efficacy and patient acceptability between treatment methods.

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