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Lichen sclerosus: the role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of the disease and its possible transformation into carcinoma

Authors Paulis G, Berardesca E

Received 13 February 2019

Accepted for publication 8 July 2019

Published 20 August 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 223—232


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jan Colli

Gianni Paulis,1,2 Enzo Berardesca3

1Andrology Center, Villa Benedetta Clinic, Rome, Italy; 2Department of Uro-andrology, Castelfidardo Medical Team, Rome, Italy; 3Department of Clinical Dermatology, S. Gallicano Dermatological Institute, Rome, Italy

Abstract: Lichen sclerosus (LS) is an autoimmune chronic inflammatory disease usually involving the anogenital skin of both sexes; more rarely LS exclusively involves extragenital areas. As a chronic inflammatory disease, in most cases, LS evolves and progresses causing scleroatrophy of the skin or scars which may cause stenosis in the affected areas. A few LS patients are at risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma in their lifetime, but appropriate long-term treatment diminishes the possibility of a malignant evolution. Oxidative stress (OS) has been proven to play a role not only in the pathogenesis of LS, but also in the development and progression of the disease. OS, by causing DNA damage and lipid peroxidation, contributes directly to the possible malignant transformation of LS. Moreover, the increase in oxidative DNA damage is associated with mutations in tumor suppressor genes. Considering the role that OS plays in LS, therapeutic use of antioxidants appears to be rational and possible, in association with other treatments. Antioxidants would counteract the oxidative DNA damage, which is the most important factor for the progression of LS and its malignant transformation.

Keywords: lichen sclerosus, oxidative stress, reactive oxygen species, oxidative damage, antioxidant therapy, squamous cell carcinoma

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