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Cancer Genetics

Understanding Oral Lichen Planus

04/18/2005

Question:

I was recently diagnosed with oral lichen planus by a biopsy. Do I need to be highly concerned about this turning malignant? Thank you.

Answer:

It appears that there is some controversy in the medical literature as to whether oral lichen planus will develop into squamous cell epithelial cancer.  Some authors report that correct diagnosis is the most important factor, while others report that there is a slightly increased chance of developing squamous cell epithelial cancer if one has been diagnosed with oral lichen planus.  This should be discussed with your physician, and you will probably continue to have regular follow-up appointments in the event that there are changes in your condition.

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Response by:

Duane D Culler, PhD, MS Duane D Culler, PhD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University