Influence of topical corticosteroids on malignant transformation of oral lichen planus

Mohammed Bindakhil, Sunday Akintoye, Patricia Corby, Eric T Stoopler, Martin S Greenberg, Rabie Shanti, Takako I Tanaka, Thomas P Sollecito

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4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Oral lichen planus (OLP) is considered an oral potentially malignant disorder. While OLP has been associated with the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), little is known about the role of topical corticosteroids therapy (TCT) in the promotion of carcinogenesis. The study aimed to determine if TCT influences the time of malignant transformation of OLP to OSCC. The study also investigates this correlation in the presence or absence of Candida overgrowth, and in the context of conventional OSCC risk factors such as smoking, alcohol use, and male gender.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of electronic health records at a tertiary care academic medical center was performed. Patients with OLP and OSCC were considered for inclusion. The diagnosis of OLP required both clinical and histological documentation.

RESULTS: Eighty-two patients met inclusion criteria, consisting of 48 women (58.25%) and 34 men (41.5%) and the mean patient age was 65.9 years (SD = 13.25). Forty-five patients (54.9%) received TCT for OLP before they developed OSCC. The time between the OLP and OSCC diagnoses increased by four years in patients who received topical steroid therapy for OLP (p < 0.001) and decreased by three years (p = 0.010) in those with Candida overgrowth. Gender, smoking, and alcohol use did not have a statistically significant influence on the time between OLP and OSCC.

CONCLUSION: The management of OLP using TCT potentially delayed cancer development in our study. Conversely, it appears that Candida may play a role in the field cancerization of OLP patients.


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