Lichen Planus

Katharina Boch, Ewan A. Langan, Khalaf Kridin, Detlef Zillikens, Ralf J. Ludwig, Katja Bieber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Lichen planus (LP) is a T cell-mediated disease affecting the stratified squamous epithelia of the skin and/or mucus membrane. Histologically, the disease is characterized by a lichenoid inflammatory infiltrate and vacuolar degeneration of the basal layer of the epidermis. LP has three major subtypes: Cutaneous, mucosal and appendageal LP. Rarely, it may affect the nails in the absence of skin and/or mucosal changes. LP may also be induced by several drugs, typically anti-hypertensive medication or be associated with infections, particularly viral hepatitis. The diagnosis is based on the clinical presentation and characteristic histological findings. Although the disease is often self-limiting, the intractable pruritus and painful mucosal erosions result in significant morbidity. The current first-line treatment are topical and/or systemic corticosteroids. In addition, immunosuppressants may be used as corticosteroid-sparing agents. These, however are often not sufficient to control disease. Janus kinase inhibitors and biologics (anti-IL-12/23, anti-IL17) have emerged as novel future treatment options. Thus, one may expect a dramatic change of the treatment landscape of LP in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number737813
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Boch, Langan, Kridin, Zillikens, Ludwig and Bieber.


This work was supported by structural funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through Excellence Cluster 2167/1 Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation and the Schleswig-Holstein Excellence Chair Program from the State of Schleswig-Holstein. KK received support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Humboldt Research Fellowship for Post-doctoral Researchers).

FundersFunder number
State of Schleswig-Holstein
Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


    • T-cell mediated
    • inflammation
    • lichen planus
    • skin disease
    • treatment


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