Lichenoid esophagitis

Topic Completed: 1 December 2012

Revised: 17 October 2019

Copyright: 2003-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Lichenoid esophagitis

Elliot Weisenberg, M.D.
Page views in 2018: 1,293
Page views in 2019 to date: 1,745
Cite this page: Weisenberg E. Lichenoid esophagitis. website. Accessed October 22nd, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Subacute to chronic mucocutaneous disorder of unknown etiology that involves skin, nails and mucosal surfaces
  • In esophagus, tends to be chronic and cause dysphagia due to esophagitis and stricture formation
  • May be underdiagnosed and a risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma (Am J Surg Pathol 2000;24:1678, Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2006;18:1043)
  • 2/3 women, usually age 40+ years
  • Mucosal surfaces affected are usually perineum, oral mucosa and pharynx
  • Rarely involves esophagus, usually upper or mid esophagus
Case reports
  • Systemic corticosteroids, retinoids, cyclosporine or azathioprine; may relapse when therapy is stopped
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Lichenoid ("banded, parallel to epidermis"), T cell rich lymphocytic infiltrate, basal epithelium degeneration, Civatte bodies (degenerated epithelial cells); often parakeratosis and atrophic epithelium; usually no hypergranulosis
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various skin images

Differential diagnosis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease: clinical symptoms, intraepithelial eosinophils, usually lower esophagus
  • Gold therapy, thiazides or antimalarials also cause cause lymphocytic infiltrate
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