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Clinicopathological Analysis of Actinic Cheilitis: A Systematic Review with Meta-analyses.

BACKGROUND: This systematic review aimed to conduct a complete investigation of the demographic aspects, clinicopathological features, degrees of epithelial dysplasia, and malignant transformation rate of actinic cheilitis.

METHODS: The study was performed following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines and registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (CRD42020201254). A search without year and language restrictions was performed using PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Virtual Health Library, Scopus, Web of Science, and gray literature. Studies that provided information on patients with actinic cheilitis were included, excluding those with general information on other diseases or other types of cheilitis. Risk of bias was explored using the Joanna Briggs Institute tool. Narrative and quantitative data syntheses were performed using meta-analyses and subgroup analyses. Association tests were also performed.

RESULTS: Thirteen studies (728 patients) were included. The most prevalent clinical signs were dryness (99%), blurred demarcation between the lip vermilion and skin (82%), scaling (69%), and atrophy (69%). Regarding epithelial dysplasia, a prevalence of mild dysplasia (34.2%), followed by moderate (27.5%), and severe (14.9%). The malignant transformation rate was 14%. Crusts, ulcerations, and erythematous areas were associated with lip carcinoma (p < 0.001), and scaling was associated with actinic cheilitis (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed several features of actinic cheilitis, providing an overview of the disease. It is suggested that new studies help develop policy guides for the standardization of clinical criteria, enabling more rigorous and homogeneous analysis of actinic cheilitis.

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