Classic and Hypertrophic Vulvar Lichen Planus

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Abstract

Objectives

Three types of lichen planus (LP) occur on the vulva: erosive, classic, and hypertrophic. The latter 2 occur on keratinized skin and little is known about their clinicopathologic appearance.

Materials and Methods

Vulvar biopsies of keratinized skin reported as LP or “lichenoid” between 2011 and 2017 were reviewed. Inclusion required age of older than 18 years, a lichenoid tissue reaction, and insufficient abnormal dermal collagen to diagnose lichen sclerosus. Clinical and histopathologic data were collected and cases were categorized as hypertrophic, classic, or nonspecific lichenoid dermatosis. Descriptive statistics were performed and groups were compared with the Fisher exact test.

Results

Sixty-three cases met criteria for inclusion. Twenty-nine (46%) cases were categorized as hypertrophic LP, 21 (33%) as classic LP, and 13 (21%) as nonspecific lichenoid dermatosis. There were no significant differences in age, primary symptom, biopsy location, or duration of disease between the 3 groups. When compared with classic and nonspecific disease, hypertrophic LP was less likely to have comorbid dermatoses and more likely to be red, diffuse, have scale crust, and contain plasma cells in the infiltrate. Nonspecific disease had similar clinical features to classic LP but was less likely than the other 2 categories to have a dense lymphocytic infiltrate and exocytosis.

Conclusions

Vulvar LP on keratinized skin has a diversity of appearances and presents a clinicopathologic challenge. Further research is required to understand the natural history of hypertrophic LP and the underlying diagnosis of nonspecific lichenoid cases.

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