Effectiveness of photodynamic therapy in the treatment of lichen sclerosus: cell changes in immunohistochemistry.

BACKGROUND: Vulvar lichen sclerosus (LS) affects primarily women at postmenopausal age and its background remains unknown. One of the treatment modalities is photodynamic therapy (PDT). The aim was to investigate the efficacy of PDT in women with LS and the analysis of protein expression before and after PDT.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: From 04.2006-01.2008 28 women, with LS underwent photodynamic diagnosis and next PDT: six-courses every second week with using 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) as a photosensitizer. Punch biopsies were taken before and after treatment and immunohistochemistry was done with Ki67,CD44,CD34 and CD3.

RESULTS: Before PDT all patients suffered from pruritus and after in 89.3% the relief was noted. The histological examination showed that 35.7% patients hadn't LS after therapy completion. Anti-CD44 staining intensities was scored qualitatively - there were no statistical difference at the expression of protein CD44 in the epidermis (p>0.05) before and after therapy. Microvessel density was assessed at the hot spots, marked with anti-CD34. Statistical difference in AVD before and after therapy: (p<0.05). The staining intensity of Ki-67 didn't differ before and after PDT (p>0.05). The expression of CD3 on T lymphocytes showed statistical difference of the lymphocytic infiltration before and after PDT ( p<0.05).

CONCLUSION: The immunohistochemical staining in vulvar LS showed increasing microvessel density and decreasing lymphocytic infiltration. There were a clinical, and less histological improvement in patients with LS. We suggest that the photodynamic therapy is an effective, alternative treatment in some but not all patients with LS. Therefore, further studies are needed.

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