The Clinical Behavior and Recurrence Patterns of Oral Cavity Cancer in Oral Lichen Planus Patients

Eyal Yosefof*, Noga Kurman, Nofar Edri, Eli Rosenfeld, Gideon Bachar, Thomas Shpitzer, Moshe Yehuda, Aviram Mizrachi, Esmat Najjar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a chronic inflammatory disorder involving epithelia with squamous differentiation. Although described as a potential malignant precursor, the characteristics of malignancies arising among these patients are not widely described. Our goal was to describe the patterns of disease recurrence of patients with oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) arising on the background of OLP. Methods: A retrospective analysis of all surgically treated patients with OSCC at a university-affiliated tertiary care center between 2000 and 2020. Results: Two hundred seventy-nine patients with OSCC treated surgically were included. Forty (14.3%) had OLP. The mean age of patients with OLP was 70.9 years compared with 64.3 years for non-OLP patients (p = 0.03). OLP patients had a significantly higher rate of disease recurrence, persistence, or multiple primary disease (70% vs. 33.9%, p < 0.001). The mean number of sequential oncologic events for each patient with recurrence was also significantly higher among OLP patients (1.86 vs. 1.36, p = 0.03), a difference explained by a higher rate of multiple primary presentations (0.71 vs. 0.28, p = 0.008). A significant difference in disease-free survival (DFS) was demonstrated between the groups as patients with OLP had a lower 5-year DFS (34.7% vs. 61.3%, log-rank p value <0.001). On multivariate analysis, OLP was significantly associated with multiple primary events (p < 0.001, Odds ratio = 7.42, 95% confidence interval 2.9–19). Conclusions: OSCC patients with OLP background demand close clinical follow-up, as multiple primary disease is significantly more common and the DFS is significantly lower among these patients. A thorough clinical evaluation for all oral cavity subsites is mandatory. Level of Evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 2024.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • disease-free survival
  • oral lichen planus
  • oral squamous cell carcinoma
  • overall survival
  • smoking


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