Retrospective analysis of the clinical characteristics and patient-reported outcomes in vulval lichen planus: Results from a single-center study

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

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10 Scopus citations


Vulval lichen planus (VLP) is a rare, but often chronic, inflammatory disease whose symptoms include genital pain, discomfort, and dyspareunia. The clinical manifestations include erythema, erosions, and scarring. The aim of this study was to longitudinally investigate patient-reported outcomes and clinical findings in patients with VLP. Patients (>18 years) with histologically confirmed VLP were included in the retrospective analysis. Patient demographics, clinical features, symptomatology, quality of life, management, clinical outcomes, and comorbidities associated with VLP were analyzed. Twenty-four patients were identified with a mean (standard deviation [SD]) follow-up time of 19.3 (13.8) months. Classical VLP with glazed erythema was found in seven (29.2%) patients, erosive VLP was present in 15 (62.5%) patients, and hypertrophic VLP in two (8.3%). Seven patients had additional cutaneous involvement, while six patients had both vulval and oral mucosal involvement. The labia minora was the most frequently affected anatomical site (83.3%), followed by the clitoris (58.3%). Scarring lesions were found in 62.5% (n = 15) of patients. All study participants received treatment with potent and/or superpotent topical corticosteroids but 50% required systemic therapy (acitretin, corticosteroids, or hydroxychloroquine). Five (20.8%) patients underwent surgery due to adhesions and scarring resulting from VLP. One patient was diagnosed with a vulval squamous cell carcinoma during long-term follow-up. The mean (SD) Dermatology Life Quality Index score was 8.4 (5.5) at presentation and 8.9 (6.8) at the end of follow-up. In conclusion, VLP was associated with moderate quality of life impairments which persisted despite treatment, suggesting that current treatments for VLP are inadequate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1913-1917
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Dermatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. The Journal of Dermatology published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Dermatological Association


  • clinical characteristics
  • patient-reported outcomes
  • quality of life
  • treatment
  • vulval lichen planus


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