The association of lichen sclerosus and erosive lichen planus of the vulva with autoimmune disease: a case-control study

Susan M Cooper, Iaisha Ali, Maha Baldo, Fenella Wojnarowska
Archives of Dermatology 2008, 144 (11): 1432-5

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the prevalence of autoimmune disease and circulating autoantibodies in women with lichen sclerosus (LS) and erosive lichen planus (LP) of the vulva and to compare these with a control population.

DESIGN: Age- and sex-matched controlled study.

SETTING: The vulval clinics in Oxfordshire, England, for patients with LS and LP. Healthy controls were recruited from the hospital and community.

PATIENTS: A total of 190 women with the typical features of adult-onset LS of the vulva, 126 women with adult-onset erosive LP of the vulva, and 922 female controls (of whom 230 were examined).

INTERVENTIONS: Personal history of autoimmune disorder for patients and controls, family history of autoimmune disorder for vulval LS and LP cohorts, and an autoantibody screen.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The presence or absence of a personal or family history of autoimmune disorder, and the presence or absence of 1 or more circulating autoantibodies.

RESULTS: The mean ages of patients with LS, patients with erosive LP, and control patients were 63, 61, and 61 years, respectively. The mean age of the 230 controls examined (including those who had serum autoantibodies assayed) was 62 years. Autoimmune disorders were more frequent in patients with erosive LP compared with controls (29% vs 9%; P < .001) and in those with LS compared with controls (28% vs 9%; P < .001). Circulating autoantibodies were more frequent in those with erosive LP compared with controls (41% vs 20%; P < .001). Conclusion This study demonstrates an association of autoimmune disorder and autoantibodies with erosive LP of the vulva and confirms the autoimmune associations of vulval LS.

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