Focal epithelial hyperplasia – an update


Correspondence: Stephen Porter, Director's Office, UCL Eastman Dental Institute, 256 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8LD, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 3456 1038, Fax: +44 (0)20 3456 1039, E-mail:


Focal epithelial hyperplasia (FEH) is an asymptomatic benign mucosal disease, which is mostly observed in specific groups in certain geographical regions. FEH is usually a disease of childhood and adolescence and is generally associated with people who live in poverty and of low socioeconomic status. Clinically, FEH is typically characterized by multiple, painless, soft, sessile papules, plaques or nodules, which may coalesce to give rise to larger lesions. Human papillomavirus (HPV), especially genotypes 13 and 32, have been associated and detected in the majority of FEH lesions. The clinical examination and social history often allow diagnosis, but histopathological examination of lesional tissue is usually required to confirm the exact diagnosis. FEH sometimes resolves spontaneously however, treatment is often indicated as a consequence of aesthetic effects or any interference with occlusion. There remains no specific therapy for FEH, although surgical removal, laser excision or possibly topical antiviral agents may be of benefit. There remains no evidence that FEH is potentially malignant.