Introducing a novel histopathological scoring system to assess disease activity and chronicity in cutaneous lichen planus: A proposal

J Cutan Pathol. 2023 Oct;50(10):922-928. doi: 10.1111/cup.14478. Epub 2023 Jul 10.


Background: Lichen planus (LP) is a chronic inflammatory disorder caused by an autoimmune attack by cytotoxic T-cells. The clinical course is variable, with episodes of remission and exacerbation. A clinicopathological scoring system for cutaneous LP is not available for effectively assessing disease severity and monitoring treatment response. This study was designed with the aim of proposing an objective and reproducible scoring system, comprising histopathological features of active and chronic disease, and to correlate these scores with clinical morphology groups.

Methodology: This is a retrospective study of 200 cases of cutaneous LP, which were categorized into five clinical groups (I-V) at the time of biopsy. The corresponding histopathological feature was assigned a score based on feature of active and chronic disease. Individual scores were summated to calculate a histopathological index (index [AI] and chronicity index [CI]). The comparison of indices between various clinical groups was performed by Mann-Whitney U test.

Results: The median AI was lowest (1) for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (clinical group I) and highest (7) for the bullous group (clinical group IV). The median CI (7) was highest for the scarring group (clinical group V). The difference between median AI of clinical group I (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) and rest of the groups (clinical groups II, III, IV, and V) was statistically significant (p value <0.05).

Conclusion: We present this clinico-histopathological scoring system as a reliable and facile method of assessing the activity and severity of LP.

Keywords: Civatte bodies; Max Joseph space; lichen planus; papule; plaque; violaceous.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation*
  • Lichen Planus* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies