Photodynamic Therapy for Vulvar Lichen Sclerosus—A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Objective

Lichen sclerosus (LS) is a disease affecting mostly genital and perianal areas. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has gained interest during the past years. The present study accumulates current evidence on the efficacy of PDT in the management of vulvar LS.

Methods

We used Medline (1966–2017), Scopus (2004–2017), ClinicalTrials.gov (2008–2017) and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials CENTRAL (1999–2017) databases in our primary search along with the reference lists of electronically retrieved full-text papers.

Results

Eleven studies were finally included in our systematic review, which recruited 337 women. The existing evidence supports that PDT results in significant relief of symptoms related to LS, hence remains confusing in evaluating the progress in the clinical appearance of the lesion. No major adverse effects were reported during therapy and during the posttreatment period. Pathologic findings seem to be conflicting, as current data do not unanimously support a beneficial histological effect.

Conclusions

According to the findings of our study, PDT seems to be promising in the treatment of patients with vulvar LS. Nonetheless, current knowledge is extremely limited, and further observational studies with large patient series are needed in the field to elucidate the efficacy of PDT.

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