Hypertrophic lichen planus mistaken for squamous cell carcinoma

Emily X Shao, Benjamin Carew and James Muir
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00577
Published online: 19 November 2018

Lichen planus is an autoimmune mucocutaneous inflammatory disorder. Diagnosis is often made clinically and confirmed on biopsy.1 Hypertrophic lichen planus is a distinct subtype characterised by pruritic, hyperkeratotic plaques. Histopathological findings may not have the typical features of lichen planus and can mimic squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).2 Distinguishing between hypertrophic lichen planus and SCC can be difficult for clinicians and pathologists.

  • Mater Hospital Brisbane, Brisbane, QLD



We thank the pathologists involved in the interpretation of the histology as well as providing the digital images of the histology slides used in this report: Duncan Lambie of IQ Pathology, West End, Queensland, and Louis Pool of Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, Bowen Hills, Queensland.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Tan E, Malik R, Quirk CJ. Hypertrophic lichen planus mimicking squamous cell carcinoma. Australas J Dermatol 1998; 39: 45-47.
  • 2. Weedon D. The lichenoid reaction pattern (“interface dermatitis”). In: Weedon D. Weedon’s skin pathology, 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2010; pp 35-70.


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