This study aimed to examine potential discriminatory characteristics of dermatoscopy and dynamic optical coherence tomography (D-OCT) on vulvar high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (vHSIL) and lichen sclerosus (LS) compared with healthy vulvar skin.
A prospective observational clinical trial was performed in 10 healthy volunteers, 5 vHSIL and 10 LS patients. Noninvasive imaging measurements using dermatoscopy and D-OCT were obtained at several time points, including lesional and nonlesional vulvar skin. Morphologic features of vHSIL and LS were compared with healthy controls. Epidermal thickness and blood flow were determined using D-OCT. Patients reported tolerability of each study procedure, including reference vulvar biopsies. The main outcome measures were feasibility and tolerability of imaging modalities, dermatoscopy and OCT characteristics, OCT epidermal thickness and D-OCT dermal blood flow.
The application of dermatoscopy and D-OCT is feasible and tolerable. In vHSIL, dermatoscopic warty structures were present. In LS, sclerotic areas and arborizing vessels were observed. Structural OCT in the vulvar area aligned with histology for hyperkeratosis and dermal-epidermal junction visualization. Currently, the OCT algorithm is unable to calculate the epidermal thickness of the uneven vulvar area. Dynamic optical coherence tomography showed statistically significant increased blood flow in LS patients (mean ± SD, 0.053 ± 0.029) to healthy controls (0.040 ± 0.012; p = .0024).
The application of dermatoscopy and D-OCT is feasible and tolerable in vHSIL and LS patients. Using dermatoscopy and D-OCT, we describe potential characteristics to aid differentiation of diseased from healthy vulvar skin, which could complement clinical assessments.
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