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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012, Article ID 759626, 8 pages
Review Article

Oral Lichen Planus as a Preneoplastic Inflammatory Model

1Department of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 75 Mikras Asias Street, Goudi, 11527 Athens, Greece
2Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece
3Dental Clinic, General Hospital Paidon Pentelis, Ippokratous 8, Penteli, 15236 Athens, Greece
4Major (Hellenic Army) D'Army Corps, Biopathologist Stuff Officer, Thermopilon 01, 67100 Xanthi, Greece
52nd Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Attikon University Hospital, 12462 Athens, Greece

Received 12 January 2012; Accepted 16 March 2012

Academic Editor: Vassilis Gorgoulis

Copyright © 2012 Eleni A. Georgakopoulou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a chronic oral inflammatory disease of unknown etiology. According to reports, 1-2% of OLP patients develop oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) in the long run. While World Health Organization (WHO) classifies OLP as “a potentially malignant disorder,” it is still a matter of debate which mechanisms drive OLP to such a condition. The current hypothesis connecting OLP and OSCC is that chronic inflammation results in crucial DNA damage which over time results in cancer development. Initial studies investigating the OLP and OSCC link were mainly retrospective clinical studies. Over the past years, several amount of information has accumulated, mainly from molecular studies on the OLP malignant potential. This article is a critical review of whether OLP has a malignant potential and, therefore, represents a model of preneoplastic inflammation.