Squamous Cell Carcinoma Arising in Hypertrophic Lichen Planus: A Review and Analysis of 38 Cases

Dermatol Surg. 2015 Dec;41(12):1411-8. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000565.


Background: Hypertrophic lichen planus is a chronic variant of lichen planus with controversial malignant association.

Objective: To describe and analyze the relationship of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and hypertrophic lichen planus.

Materials and methods: A retrospective chart review of patients with hypertrophic lichen planus and SCC was performed at the authors' institution. Thereafter, scientific databases were searched for articles reporting cases of SCC arising in hypertrophic lichen planus. Patient demographics, immune status, lichen planus features, and SCC data points were extracted for each patient and evaluated.

Results: Thirty-eight cases of SCC in hypertrophic lichen planus occurred in 16 women, average age: 61.4, and 22 men, average age: 51.3, after a lag time of 88 days to 40 years. Squamous cell carcinoma was uniformly located on the lower extremity. Men had larger SCC than women (p = .027) and a significantly longer lag time to SCC development (p = .002). Long lag time was associated with a smaller SCC size (p = .032).

Conclusion: In the past, hypertrophic lichen planus and SCC have been considered isolated diseases. Based on an increasing number of cases, the association between hypertrophic lichen planus and keratinocyte malignancies warrants surveillance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Lichen Planus / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Time Factors