Background Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection induces variable dermatologic manifestations. Our purpose was to determine whether there is an association between HCV infection and oral lichen planus (OLP).
Methods Antibodies to HCV were determined in patients with OLP (263 patients; 156 women and 107 men, with a mean age of 55.5 years) and in a control population.
Results Seventy six cases (28.8%) were positive for HCV antibodies with the second-generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA II) test. All of these cases were confirmed with the second-generation recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA II) test. In 61 cases (23.1%), high levels of serum transaminase were found. Positivity for hepatitis B virus (HBV) markers was found in 31 patients (11.7%) and for hepatitis A virus (HAV) markers in 43 patients (16.3%). None had positivity for hepatitis D virus (HDV) markers. As a control group, we used 100 patients (58 women and 42 men, with a mean age of 55.3 years) referred to the School of Dentistry of the University of Naples “Federico II,” and treated for general dental caries. In the control group, HCV antibody positivity was found in three cases.
Conclusions The high prevalence of HCV antibody in this group of patients with OLP, higher than in the healthy population, suggests a link (p = 1.423 × 10–7, chi-squared test) between these two diseases. These findings stress the importance of liver examination in OLP patients, and the need for other studies on the high susceptibility to hepatitis viruses in the population in the southern part of Europe.