Lichen planus and hepatitis C virus: a multicentre study of patients with oral lesions and a systematic review

Unit of Oral Medicine and Pathology, Department of Medicine, University of Milan, via Beldiletto 1/3, Milan 20142, Italy.
British Journal of Dermatology (Impact Factor: 4.1). 01/2005; 151(6):1172-81. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2004.06257.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An association between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and lichen planus (LP) has been investigated, but results have been inconsistent.
To investigate the relationship between LP and HCV seropositivity. Methods In a cross-sectional study we tested the sera of 303 consecutive newly diagnosed patients with histologically proven LP referred to three Italian centres for the presence of anti-HCV IgG. A comparable control group was also tested. Next, in a systematic review, studies were identified by searching different databases in April 2004. Inclusion criteria were: (i) analytical study design; (ii) clinical and histological diagnosis of LP; and (iii) serological test for anti-HCV antibodies as main outcome. The risk of bias was assessed on the basis of characteristics of the study group, appropriateness of the control group and study design. Pooled data were analysed by calculating odds ratios (ORs), using a random effects model.
In the cross-sectional study, nearly one in five (19.1%) of the LP group was HCV positive, while a much lower prevalence of infection was found in the control group (3.2%) [OR 7.08; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.43-14.58]. The systematic review yielded 25 relevant studies, six of which had a low risk of bias. There was a statistically significant difference in the proportion of HCV-seropositive subjects among patients with LP, compared with controls (OR 4.80; 95% CI 3.25-7.09). Following subgroup analyses, the variability of HCV prevalence in patients with LP seemed to depend on geographical area, but not on age.
Anti-HCV circulating antibodies are more common in patients with LP than in controls, although such an association may not be significant in some geographical areas.

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