The vulvovaginal gingival syndrome: a severe subgroup of lichen planus with characteristic clinical features and a novel association with the class II HLA DQB1*0201 allele

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006 Jul;55(1):98-113. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2005.12.006.


Background: The vulvovaginal gingival syndrome is an uncommon and severe variant of lichen planus characterized by erosions or desquamation of vulval, vaginal, and gingival mucosae with a predilection for scarring and stricture formation.

Objective: We sought to define the clinical, immunopathologic, and human leukocyte antigen findings in a large cohort of patients.

Methods: The clinical presentation and outcome during long-term follow-up were documented in 40 patients. In addition, human leukocyte antigen typing for class II by polymerase chain reaction and sequence-specific primers was performed.

Results: During a mean follow-up period of 8.7 (SD +/- 6.8) years, long-term sequelae included strictures of the esophagus, lachrymal ducts, and external auditory canal; loss of vulval architecture; vaginal stenosis; and buccal mucosal fibrosis. The DQB1( *)0201 allele was present in 80% of patients versus 41.8% of control subjects (P <or= .0042; relative risk 3.71).

Conclusion: Early diagnosis of this distinct subgroup of lichen planus, combined with appropriate therapeutic measures, may help to minimize the significant physical and psychologic morbidity associated with this scarring disorder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Female
  • Gingival Diseases / diagnosis
  • Gingival Diseases / drug therapy
  • Gingival Diseases / immunology*
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / immunology*
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • Humans
  • Lichen Planus / diagnosis
  • Lichen Planus / drug therapy
  • Lichen Planus / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Syndrome
  • Vaginal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Vaginal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Vaginal Diseases / immunology*
  • Vulvar Diseases / diagnosis
  • Vulvar Diseases / drug therapy
  • Vulvar Diseases / immunology*


  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DQB1 antigen