Verruciform xanthoma--biological profile of 282 oral lesions based on a literature survey with nine new cases from Japan

Oral Oncol. 2003 Jun;39(4):325-36. doi: 10.1016/s1368-8375(02)00088-x.


The biological profile of oral verruciform xanthoma (VX) is presented based on a world-wide literature survey of 282 cases. From 1979 onwards, extraoral cases have also been reported. This rare, harmless lesion with a sessile or pedunculated base is a red/pink, papillary/granular/verrucous mucosal growth, occurring in females (mean age, 54.9 yrs) and males (mean age, 44.2 yrs) in a female:male ratio of 1:1.1. The most common location is by far the gingival margin and other areas of the masticatory oral mucosa. Comparison between 173 non-Japanese and 109 Japanese patients with oral VX showed few discrepancies in epidemiological data, indicating only few significant ethnic differences between the two cohorts. Histomorphologically, the epithelium covering the lesion can be divided into three groups: (A) a verrucous, (B) a papillary and (C) a flat pattern. The hallmark of all VX, irrespective of the lesion being intra- or extraoral is, however, the presence of vacuolated, foam or xanthoma cells which ultimately replace the connective tissue between the epithelial ridges. The xanthoma cells have been shown to be cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage. The present concept of the etiology and pathogenesis of VX, including the possible viral (HPV) association is revised, based on both intra- and some extraoral cases, and it is concluded that it is still far from being clarified.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People
  • Black People
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gingiva / pathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Diseases / epidemiology
  • Mouth Diseases / ethnology
  • Mouth Diseases / pathology*
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • White People
  • Xanthomatosis / epidemiology
  • Xanthomatosis / ethnology
  • Xanthomatosis / pathology*