Lupus erythematosus/lichen planus overlap syndrome: successful treatment with acitretin

Lupus. 2013 Jul;22(8):851-4. doi: 10.1177/0961203313492243. Epub 2013 Jun 11.


Lupus erythematosus/lichen planus overlap syndrome is a rare disorder combining the clinical, histological and immunopathological features of both lupus erythematosus (LE) and lichen planus (LP). Cutaneous lesions mostly affect the distal arms, legs, face and trunk. Palmoplantar involvement is felt to be characteristic of this condition. Plaques are often painful, centrally atrophic, bluish-red to hypopigmented in color, large, and scaly. On biopsy of clinically ambiguous lesions, histopathological features of one or both processes can be found, obscuring the diagnosis and complicating prognosis and treatment. Thus, direct immunofluorescence has become an essential tool in helping to diagnose this condition. In this report we describe the unique clinical and immunohistopathological manifestations of lupus erythematosus/lichen planus overlap syndrome along with a successful response to treatment with acitretin.

Keywords: Lupus erythematosus; acitretin; direct immunofluorescence staining; lichen planus; lupus erythematosus/lichen planus overlap syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acitretin / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Direct / methods
  • Humans
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lichen Planus / diagnosis
  • Lichen Planus / drug therapy*
  • Lichen Planus / pathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / pathology
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Keratolytic Agents
  • Acitretin