Chronic lip discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) is a potentially malignant disorder that can develop into lip squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC). Podoplanin is a specific marker for lymphatic endothelial cells and plays a role in cancer progression. The objective of this study was to determine the immunoexpression of podoplanin in samples of patients with DLE and its correlation with the risk of progression to LSCC. In a retrospective study, podoplanin expression was determined using immunohistochemistry in samples from 52 patients with DLE, including 44 patients with untransformed DLE and 8 patients with malignant transformed DLE. Ten samples of normal oral mucosa and 10 samples of LSCC were used as normal and cancer controls, respectively. The results showed that podoplanin expression was observed in 12 of 44 (27.3%) patients with untransformed DLE and in 7 of 8 (87.5%) patients with transformed DLE (P = .002). Podoplanin was not expressed in normal oral mucosa, but it was overexpressed in all of the 10 patients with LSCC. Regression analysis revealed that podoplanin expression was significantly associated with an 18.67-fold increase in the risk of malignant progression (95% confidence interval = 2.07-168.10; P = .009). In summary, podoplanin expression is significantly associated with malignant transformation of DLE into LSCC. Thus, podoplanin expression may identify a subgroup with a high risk of malignant progression of DLE.