Imiquimod, Fluorouracil, or Observation in Treating HIV-Positive Patients With High-Grade Anal Squamous Skin Lesions

  • End date
    Sep 27, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    AIDS Malignancy Consortium
Updated on 4 October 2022
platelet count
absolute neutrophil count
HIV Infection
antiretroviral therapy
hiv test
western blot
karnofsky performance status
tumor cells
HIV Vaccine
anal hsil
anal canal
intraepithelial neoplasia
cervical cytology
anal intraepithelial neoplasia 2
immune globulin
enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
antibody test


This randomized phase III trial studies imiquimod or fluorouracil to see how well they work compared to observation in treating patients with high-grade anal squamous skin lesions who are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive. Biological therapies, such as imiquimod, may stimulate the immune system in different ways and stop tumor cells from growing. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as fluorouracil, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It is not yet known whether imiquimod or fluorouracil is more effective than observation in treating high-grade anal squamous skin lesions.



I. To assess the efficacy of intra-anal imiquimod 2.5% for treatment of anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) compared to observation only.

II. To assess the efficacy of intra-anal topical 5-fluorouracil (fluorouracil) 5% for treatment of anal HSIL compared to observation only.


I. To assess the safety and tolerability of intra-anal imiquimod 2.5% and topical 5-fluorouracil 5%.

II. To compare the efficacy of intra-anal imiquimod 2.5% and topical 5-fluorouracil 5%.

III. To assess for partial response of intra-anal imiquimod 2.5% or topical 5-fluorouracil 5% as compared to observation only.

IV. To evaluate the effect of intra-anal imiquimod 2.5% and topical 5-fluorouracil 5% on human papilloma virus (HPV) persistence.

V. To evaluate anal HSIL outcomes at week 44. VI. To evaluate the effect of behavioral patterns including tobacco smoking and sexual activity on treatment efficacy, tolerability and HPV.

OUTLINE: Patients are randomized to 1 of 3 treatment arms.

ARM A: Patients apply imiquimod intra-anally once daily (QD) for 16 weeks. (closed as of protocol version 5.0)

ARM B: Patients apply fluorouracil intra-anally twice daily (BID) on days 1-5. Treatment repeats every 2 weeks for 8 courses in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

ARM C: Patients receive no treatment. Patients who still have HSIL at week 20 and who agree to randomization may cross-over to Arm A or B.

After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up at weeks 20, 24, 26, 32, 40, and 44.

Condition Anal Intraepithelial Neoplasia, High-grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion, HIV Infection
Treatment fluorouracil, laboratory biomarker analysis, questionnaire administration, Imiquimod
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02059499
SponsorAIDS Malignancy Consortium
Last Modified on4 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

HIV-positive; documentation of HIV infection must be based on a federally approved, licensed HIV test performed in conjunction with screening (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA], western blot, or other test); alternatively, this documentation may include a record that another physician has documented that the patient has HIV based on prior ELISA and western blot; an approved antibody test will be used to confirm diagnosis; if the physician is treating a patient with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) with a history of HIV positivity based on an approved antibody test then repeat antibody confirmation is not necessary
Biopsy-proven HSIL (anal intraepithelial neoplasia 2 (AIN2) and/or AIN3) of the anal canal at either the squamocolumnar junction or distal anus, documented within 60 days prior to enrollment, but not less than 1 week prior to enrollment
HSIL occupies at least 25% of the circumference of the anal canal at either the squamocolumnar junction or distal anus on high-resolution anoscopy (HRA) at screening or entry based on available biopsy results and visual appearance
Anal HSIL lesions are visible at study entry and no lesions are suspicious for invasive cancer
Ability to understand and willing to provide informed consent
Participants must, in the opinion of the Investigator, be capable of complying with the requirements of this protocol including self-administration of study treatment
Karnofsky performance status of >= 70%
Cluster of differentiation (CD)4 count >= 200 within 120 days prior to enrollment or plasma HIV-1 ribonucleic acid (RNA) < 200 copies/mL within 120 days prior to enrollment
For females, cervical cytology (if having a cervix) and gynecologic evaluation within 12 months prior to enrollment
Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) > 750 cells/mm^3 within 90 days prior to enrollment
Hemoglobin >= 9.0 g/dL within 90 days prior to enrollment
Platelet count >= 75,000/mm^3 within 90 days prior to enrollment

Exclusion Criteria

History of anal cancer
Prior intra-anal use of topical 5-fluorouracil 5% or imiquimod 2.5%, 3.75% or 5% at any point, or use of perianal imiquimod 2.5%, 3.75% or 5% or topical 5-fluorouracil 5% within 6 months prior to enrollment
Extensive concurrent perianal or lower vulvar HSIL or condyloma requiring a different treatment modality than the study treatment, or treatment that cannot be deferred in observation arm, per examining provider
Condyloma occupying more than 50% of the circumference of the anal canal or that obscures a satisfactory exam
Ongoing use of anticoagulant therapy other than aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Acute treatment for an infection (excluding fungal infection of the skin and sexually transmitted infections) or other serious medical illness within 14 days prior to study entry
Malignancy requiring systemic therapy; note: Kaposi's sarcoma limited to the skin is not exclusionary unless requiring systemic chemotherapy
Concurrent systemic corticosteroids, cytokines, and immunomodulatory therapy (e.g. interferons)
Prior history of HPV vaccination
Treatment for anal or perianal HSIL, low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) or condyloma within 4 months of entry; please note that infrared coagulation (IRC) or electrocautery of a biopsy site to stop bleeding does not constitute treatment
Female participants who are pregnant or breastfeeding; women of childbearing potential must have a negative urine or serum pregnancy test within 72 hours prior to initiating study treatment; all women of childbearing potential must be willing to comply with an acceptable birth control regimen to prevent pregnancy while receiving treatment and for 3 months after treatment is discontinued as determined by the Investigator; post-menopausal women must be amenorrheic for at least 12 months to be considered of non-childbearing potential; (note: a woman of childbearing potential is one who is biologically capable of becoming pregnant; this includes women who are using contraceptives or whose sexual partners are either sterile or using contraceptives)
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