Influence of treatments on prognosis for vulvar lichen sclerosus: Facts and controversies

Brooks Brodrick, Zoe R. Belkin, Andrew T. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Lichen sclerosus (LS) is an inflammatory dermatosis with a predilection for the anogential skin. Vulvar LS can be a debilitating disease, causing pruritus and pain, and it carries the potential for atrophy, scarring, and significant functional impairment. Recently, many advances have been made regarding the etiology and natural history of the disease process; however, much debate still exists regarding the most advantageous medical and surgical management of this disorder. In an effort to provide a comprehensive review on current vulvar LS literature, the following three controversies will be discussed: (1) optimal disease treatment, (2) theories behind LS's oncogenicity and treatments for minimizing malignancy, and (3) the value of surgical treatment for LS. Ultra-potent topical corticosteroids (TCSs) are the first-line treatment for vulvar LS, while topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) remain second-line agents for patients for whom TCS treatment resulted in incomplete resolution of symptoms or adverse events. Due to the relapsing nature of the disease, longterm maintenance therapy is often required. In addition, recent advances have contributed to the understanding of the association between LS and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). While the exact mechanism responsible for LS-associated SCC is not known, immune dysregulation and inflammation may play an important role; therefore, successful treatment of LS should be directed towards alleviation of symptoms and reversal of the underlying histopathologic changes. Patients with LS-associated malignancy, as well as patients who need correction of functionally restrictive, scarring processes, can successfully undergo surgical intervention with tissue conservation

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)780-786
Number of pages7
JournalClinics in Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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