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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Lichen planus pigmentosus

Other Names for this Disease
  • Lichen planus pigmentosa
  • Lichen planus pigmentosus inversus
  • LP pigmentosa
  • LP pigmentosus
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Your Question

Is this a cancerous disease, and how do I treat this condition? I am desperate.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Is lichen planus pigmentosus a cancerous condition?

Lichen planus (LP) pigmentosus is not a type of cancer. It has been recognized that there is an association between lichen planus and cancer, although the association is rare. Among the different subtypes of LP, bullous LP (in which blisters are present within the lesions) is the most frequent type associated with cancer, while LP pigmentosus and cancer have been infrequently associated.[1] One case of LP pigmentosus has been reported in association with Bazex syndrome and head and neck cancer.[2] Some forms of erosive lichen planus (which mostly affects mucosal surfaces of the mouth and the genitals and causes ulcers), which can occur with classical cutaneous LP or other forms of mucosal LP, can result in squamous cell carcinoma if the condition persists.[3]
Last updated: 2/29/2012

How might lichen planus pimentosus be treated?

There is currently no treatment proven effective for lichen planus pigmentosus (LPP).[4] Vitamin A therapy reportedly has been successful in some affected individuals.[5] Authors of a study published in 2010 reported that they noted positive treatment results in some affected individuals who used topical tacrolimus ointment. They reported that they found significant clearance of the condition after 8 weeks of treatment in 7 of 13 affected individuals. They believe that tacrolimus might have some role in the treatment of LPP, but it needs to be studied further on more individuals from different parts of the world.[4]
Last updated: 2/29/2012

  • Sassolas B, Zagnoli A, Leroy JP, Guillet G. Lichen planus pigmentosus associated with acrokeratosis of Bazex. Clin Exp Dermatol. January 1994; 19(1):70-73.
  • Lichen planus pigmentosus. Orphanet. May 2011; Accessed 2/27/2012.
  • Erosive Lichen Planus. DermNet NZ. July 2011; Accessed 2/27/2012.
  • Al-Mutairi N, El-Khalawany M.. Clinicopathological characteristics of lichen planus pigmentosus and its response to tacrolimus ointment: an open label, non-randomized, prospective study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. May 2010; 24(5):535-540.
  • KH Mohan. Acquired macular hyperpigmentation an overview. Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatologists. 2011; 21:43-54.