Lichen planus affecting the female genitalia: A retrospective review of patients at Mayo Clinic

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Abstract

Background

Genital or vulval lichen planus (VLP) may have a disabling effect on a patient's quality of life. Evidence-based management guidelines are lacking for VLP.

Objective

We sought to review clinical presentation and treatment of patients who received a diagnosis of VLP.

Methods

The 100 consecutive patients who received a diagnosis of VLP at Mayo Clinic between January 1, 1997, and December 31, 2015, were reviewed retrospectively. Descriptive statistics were used for data analysis. Fisher's exact test and the Wilcoxon rank sum test were used for analysis of categorical and continuous variables, respectively. All statistical tests were 2 sided, with the α level set at .05 for statistical significance.

Results

The time to diagnosis for 49% of patients was more than 1 year. Three patients (3%) had vulval dysplasia, including invasive squamous cell carcinoma. Sixty-eight patients (68%) had multisite lichen planus disease. Eleven patients (11%) had disease remission. Dermatology was the lead specialty for 9 of these cases of remission.

Limitations

This was a retrospective, small-cohort study.

Conclusion

A low frequency of disease remission was seen in patients with VLP. Patients with lichen planus benefit considerably from dermatology consultation. Further research is warranted to establish high-quality, evidence-based guidelines for multidisciplinary management of this challenging disease.

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