Oral hairy leukoplakia in healthy immunocompetent patients: a small case series
Oral hairy leukoplakia (OHL) is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and usually presents in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and systemic immunosuppression. It is rarely seen in patients who are immunocompetent. It is clinically characterised as an asymptomatic, soft, white and corrugated lesion that cannot be scraped from the surface it adheres to.
Immunocompetent patients with OHL attending Bristol Dental Hospital within the last 6 months were identified. EBV infection was demonstrated using EBV in situ hybridization. Clinical features and medical history were determined by reviewing medical records.
Four cases of OHL in immunocompetent individuals were identified. All lesions were located on the lateral borders of the tongue.
OHL should be considered as a differential diagnosis for white patches on the lateral borders of the tongue in apparently healthy immunocompetent patients, even when they do not have a typical corrugated appearance. OHL should no longer be regarded as pathognomonic for HIV infection or systemic immunosuppression.
KeywordsOral hairy leukoplakia Epstein-Barr virus HIV-negative patients Immunocompetent
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
Written informed consent was obtained from the participants for publication of the case series.
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