Laryngeal lichen planus mimicking vocal fold dysplasia


      Lichen planus (LP) is an immune-mediated chronic inflammatory disease affecting the skin and mucosal membranes, either alone or in combination. LP rarely occurs in the larynx, where it presents as leukoplakia. Additionally, due to its responsiveness to corticosteroid drugs, differential diagnosis from other causes of laryngeal leukoplakia is needed (e.g., dysplasia and squamous cell carcinoma [SCC]). A 71 years old male smoker presented with progressive hoarseness and cough without fever. Vocal folds’ motility was preserved. At fiberoptic laryngoscopy, he presented with bilateral cordal erythema and leukoplakia of the right true vocal fold. A sub-epithelial CO2 laser cordectomy was performed. Histological findings were consistent with mucosal LP. After surgical excision, the patient experienced symptomatic relief without medical treatment. A relapsing lesion became clinically evident six months later. A pinch biopsy was performed, and the histological examination confirmed the presence of laryngeal-LP. Hence, the patient underwent a 10-week corticosteroid-based treatment. After that, and during the subsequent 12 months of follow-up, the patient showed no signs of recurrence. LP is an exceedingly rare cause of leukoplakia in the larynx. Histological evaluation plays a key role in the diagnosis, in order to establish a proper therapeutic approach. Since LP is responsive to corticosteroid drugs and untreated disease tends to relapse, the medical treatment is advisable in such instances.


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