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Indian J Sex Transm Dis AIDS. 2018 Jul-Dec;39(2):130-132. doi: 10.4103/ijstd.IJSTD_15_18.

Syphilis cornee mimicking lichen planus clinically and histologically.

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Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India.
Department of Pathology, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India.


Palmoplantar lesions of secondary syphilis are often termed "syphilis cornee." A 32-year-old male presented with itchy lichenoid papules on both soles and left palm associated with grayish white papules on the buccal mucosa and glans penis. Initial clinical diagnosis of palmoplantar lichen planus with mucosal involvement was supported by the histopathological finding of interface dermatitis. However, more detailed history, serological tests of syphilis, and review of histopathological findings led us to revise the diagnosis as syphilis cornee. This case highlights the uncommon presentation of syphilis cornee as pruritic palmoplantar lichenoid papules with histology showing interface dermatitis. A high index of clinical suspicion of secondary syphilis is needed as its manifestations are often deceptive.


Lichen planus; palmoplantar lesions; syphilis

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