A recent study showed high prevalence of the hepatitis C virus in patients with oral lichen planus, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects skin and oral mucosa.
Researchers in Japan studied 59 patients (group 1-A; average age of 68.05 years) with oral mucosal diseases to determine the rate of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in individuals with lichen planus. Group 1-B included a control group of 85 patients (average age of 66.35 years) with normal oral mucosa.
Serum samples from the 144 patients were tested for platelets and hemoglobin, as well as eight other liver function tests.
The prevalence of anti-HCV (P<.0001) and HVC RNA (P<.0001) were 67.8% and 59.32%, respectively, in group 1-A, which was significantly higher than the respective rates in the control group at 31.76% and 16.47%.
Researchers said three factors — positivity for HCV RNA (OR=6.58), low albumin level (<4.0 g/dL; OR=3.53) and a history of smoking (OR=2.58) — were associated with the development of oral lichen planus.
“ … our data show that HCV infection could be the main pathogenic factor of lichen planus in Japanese patients,” the researchers concluded. “Routine HCV testing and medical examination for lichen planus are recommended for patients in high-risk HCV areas like Japan.”