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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Elevated C-Reactive Protein

10/13/2009

Question:

I have had oral lichan planus for years but it comes and goes. My dentist has sent me for a biopsy to rule out cancer twice in 5 years. I recently had a blood test that said my C reactive protein indicated an infection. I was not aware of any infection but have had an outbreak of lichan planus. Could lichan planus cause my C reactive protein to be elevated??? Thank you.

Answer:

As you probably know, C-reactive protein is measured from the blood (plasma) as an indicator of inflammation. Elevated levels can be seen with infections, but can also occur in patients with atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels).

Although lichen planus is a condition associated with uncontrolled inflammatory cells that damage the skin or the membranes of the mouth, there is no published information that suggests a relationship between this disease and levels of C-reactive protein. While the "absence of evidence" doesn't mean the two things couldn't be related, it seems more likely that the timing of your blood test result and outbreak of lichen planus were purely coincidental.

Hope this helps!

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
Associate Dean of Dentistry Administration
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University