Exploring reflectance confocal microscopy as a non‑invasive diagnostic tool for genital lichen sclerosus
- Despoina Kantere
- Noora Neittaanmäki
- Kristina Maltese
- Ann-Marie Wennberg Larkö
- Petra Tunbäck
Affiliations: Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Gothenburg, SE-41346 Gothenburg, Sweden, Department of Pathology and Dermatology, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, SE-41346 Gothenburg, Sweden
- Published online on: April 26, 2022 https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2022.11337
Copyright: © Kantere
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Commons Attribution License.
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The diagnosis of genital lichen sclerosus (LS) is often confirmed by obtaining a skin biopsy, which can lead to unwanted complications and is uncomfortable in the sensitive genital area. Thus, there is a need of finding novel, non‑invasive techniques that can rapidly and accurately diagnose LS. The present study investigated the potential for reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) to diagnose LS compared with healthy penile skin and other common penile skin disorders in males. A total of 30 male patients, including patients with LS, nonspecific balanoposthitis, plasma cell balanitis and psoriasis, and healthy individuals were included and were subject to non‑invasive RCM investigation. Prominent fiber‑like structures, representing hyaline sclerosis, were observed in the RCM images for almost half of the patients. Differences between healthy penile skin and LS were confirmed by identifying the edged papillae on healthy skin and their absence or obscureness in patients with LS. Notably, RCM could detect the atypical honeycomb pattern referring to dysplasia in 1 patient with LS with penile intraepithelial neoplasia. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that RCM can detect sclerosis in penile LS. RCM can potentially become a valuable tool for monitoring patients with LS for dysplasia providing a useful non‑invasive diagnostic tool for genital disorders.