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Childhood Lichen Planus: Demographics of a U.S. Population


Address correspondence to Kristen E. Holland, M.D., Medical College of Wisconsin, 9200 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53226, or e-mail: Kara Walton, Elyn Bowers, Beth Drolet, and Kristen Holland had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.


Abstract:  Lichen planus is an inflammatory dermatosis of unknown origin that is relatively uncommon in children. Demographic data for lichen planus of children in the United States are lacking, with most large case reports originating from India, Kuwait, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. We hypothesized that a greater proportion of our pediatric lichen planus patients were African American, an observation not previously documented. A retrospective chart review was performed to investigate characteristics of our pediatric lichen planus patients. The ethnicity of the lichen planus patients was compared with the data for our general patient population. The proportion of African American patients in each group was compared using the chi-squared test. We report 36 children (female to male ratio 2:1) who presented with lichen planus to the pediatric dermatology clinic at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Twenty-six (72%) of these patients were African American (OR 9.63, p < 0.0001). A personal or family history of autoimmune disease was present in six (17%) patients. Although there has been no reported racial predominance of lichen planus, we observed lichen planus to occur more commonly in African American children. Interestingly, the incidence of autoimmune disease was higher than has previously been reported. Future studies will confirm or refute these observations and advance our understanding of potential genetic or environmental risk factors for the development of lichen planus.