Lichenoid and interface dermatoses

Semin Diagn Pathol. 2017 May;34(3):237-249. doi: 10.1053/j.semdp.2017.03.001. Epub 2017 Mar 22.


The terms 'lichenoid' and 'interface' dermatitis are often used interchangeably to describe an inflammatory pattern characterized histologically by damage to the basal keratinocytes in the epidermis. The mechanism of cell damage of such cells is now best understood as apoptosis, or programmed cell death. This inflammatory pattern of dermatoses, is also accompanied frequently by a band of lymphocytes and histiocytes in the superficial dermis, that often obscures the dermal-epidermal junction, hence the term 'lichenoid'. A discussion of the more common lichenoid/interface dermatitides encountered in the routine clinical practice encompasses the following entities: lichen planus, lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, erythema multiforme, graft versus host disease, fixed drug reactions, and multiple others.

Keywords: Erythema multiforme; Graft versus host disease; Lichen planus; Lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lichenoid Eruptions / pathology*