• Lichen planus;
  • psoralen plus UVA (PUVA);
  • UVB-311 nm

Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the short- and long-term therapeutic efficacy of psoralen plus UVA (PUVA) vs. UVB-311 nm in the treatment of patients with disseminated lichen planus.

Methods: A computerized data bank search and chart review revealed that data from a total of 28 patients, including 15 patients [11 women, four men; mean age 47 years (range, 16–65 years)] treated between 1998 and 2004 with PUVA and 13 patients [10 women, three men; mean age 51 years (range, 19–69 years)] treated with UVB-311 nm, were available at our institution for retrospective analysis.

Results: All 15 patients (100%) treated with oral PUVA had a complete [n=10 (67%)] or partial [n=5 (33%)] clinical response, whereas 10 of 13 patients (77%) treated with UVB-311 nm showed complete [n=4 (31%)] or partial [n=6 (46%)] clinical response. Statistical analysis revealed that the initial response to PUVA was superior to that of UVB-311 nm (P=0.0426; Wilcoxon's exact test). There were no statistically significant differences between the PUVA- and UVB-311 nm-treated patient groups with regard to mean therapy duration (10.5 vs. 8.2 weeks; P=0.1107; unpaired, two-tailed Student's t test) or mean number of treatment exposures (25.9 vs. 22.5; P=0.1775). After a mean follow-up period of 20.5 months (range, 2–49 months) and 35.7 months (range, 3–60 months), respectively, disease recurrence or deterioration was observed in seven of 15 PUVA-treated patients (47%) and three of 10 UVB-311 nm-treated patients (30%). Kaplan–Meier lifetime table analysis revealed no statistically significant difference between the 2 treatment groups in terms of sustained overall (i.e., partial and complete) clinical response rate (P=0.8593; log-rank test).

Conclusions: Even though oral PUVA produces a better initial clinical response rate, both oral PUVA and UVB-311 nm are effective treatments for lichen planus that produce similar long-term outcomes.