Dermoscopy of discoid lupus erythematosus - a systematic review of the literature

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Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) may lead to disfiguring scarring and permanent hair loss. Dermoscopy may serve as a noninvasive tool useful in the preliminary diagnosis of hair loss and inflammatory skin diseases. The aim of the paper was to summarize and analyze the dermoscopic features of DLE lesions in various anatomical locations.


A systematic review of PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science was performed using the search terms: ‘lupus’ OR ‘discoid lupus’ OR ‘cutaneous lupus’ combined with ‘dermoscopy’ OR ‘dermatoscopy’ OR ‘videodermoscopy’ OR ‘videodermatoscopy’ OR ‘trichoscopy’ OR ‘mucoscopy’ OR ‘onychoscopy’.


About 29 out of 318 initially identified papers were included in the analysis. In scalp DLE (n = 166), the most common findings were: white structureless areas (62%), arborizing vessels (57.8%), white scales (54.2%), follicular keratotic plugs (47%), absent follicular openings (45.8%), perifollicular scaling (43.9%), pink‐white background (40.4%), speckled brown pigmentation (38%), and fibrotic white dots (33.7%). In non‐scalp DLE (n = 129), the most frequent features were: follicular keratotic plugs (66.7%), white perifollicular halo (65.9%), white scale (39.5%), speckled brown pigmentation (38.8%), white structureless areas (37.2%), and arborizing vessels (34.9%). There are scarce data in the literature on dermoscopic findings in labial (n = 8), mucosal (n = 3) and ungual DLE (n = 1).


DLE is characterized by a wide variety of dermoscopic findings with variable frequencies depending on the location of the lesions. Nevertheless, further studies are needed in order to reliably assess frequencies, correlation with disease stage and significance of individual dermoscopic features.

View the full article @ International journal of dermatology

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