Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 957–964 | Cite as

Gustatory function and taste perception in patients with oral lichen planus and tongue involvement

  • Valerie G. A. Suter
  • Simona Negoias
  • Hergen Friedrich
  • Basile N. Landis
  • Marco-Domenico Caversaccio
  • Michael M. Bornstein
Original Article



The aim of the study was to evaluate if patients with oral lichen planus (OLP) and tongue involvement have impaired taste function and if there is an association to the perception of pain.

Material and methods

The test group included patients with OLP and involvement of the tongue without treatment (n = 20). Control subjects had no mucosal or systemic disease affecting taste function and were matched for age and gender (n = 20). Patients’ intraoral pain and subjective perception of taste were recorded on a visual analog scale. Taste function was assessed by means of the “taste strips.”


Measured taste function was slightly but significantly decreased in OLP patients compared to control subjects (p = 0.01). Self-rated taste perception did not differ in both groups (p = 0.8). Post hoc analysis showed that particularly the taste quality “sour” was most affected by the OLP status (p = 0.01). There were no correlations between pain and subjective/objective taste perception.


Untreated OLP subjects have lower gustatory function, which they are not aware of.

Clinical relevance

Impaired gustatory function in patients with OLP may affect patient’s quality of life. Further studies on larger samples sizes are requested.


Oral lichen planus Taste Tongue Pain Treatment 



The authors thank Anja Mühlemann, Institute of Mathematical Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Bern, for her assistance during the statistical analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the local ethics committee of the state of Bern, Switzerland (approval number 166/13). All procedures in this prospective study were conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (1964) and its later amendments.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


The study was funded by departmental funds of the Department of Oral Surgery and Stomatology, University of Bern, and the Department for ENT, Head and Neck Surgery, Bern University Hospital.


  1. 1.
    Walsh LJ, Savage NW, Ishii T, Seymour GJ (1990) Immunopathogenesis of oral lichen planus. J Oral Pathol Med 19:389–396CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lodi G, Scully C, Carrozzo M, Griffiths M, Sugerman PB, Thongprasom K (2005) Current controversies in oral lichen planus: report of an international consensus meeting. Part 1. Viral infections and etiopathogenesis. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 100:40–51CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Payeras MR, Cherubini K, Figueiredo MA, Salum FG (2013) Oral lichen planus: focus on etiopathogenesis. Arch Oral Biol 58:1057–1069CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Axéll T, Rundquist L (1987) Oral lichen planus—a demographic study. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 15:52–56CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    McCartan BE, Healy CM (2008) The reported prevalence of oral lichen planus: a review and critique. J Oral Pathol Med 37:447–453CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Carrozzo M, Thorpe R (2009) Oral lichen planus: a review. Minerva Stomatol 58:519–537PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Eisen D (2002) The clinical features, malignant potential, and systemic associations of oral lichen planus: a study of 723 patients. J Am Acad Dermatol 46:207–214CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Andreasen JO (1968) Oral lichen planus. 1. A clinical evaluation of 115 cases. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 25:31–42CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Eisen D, Carrozzo M, Bagan Sebastian JV, Thongprasom K (2005) Number V oral lichen planus: clinical features and management. Oral Dis 11:338–349CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Al-Hashimi I, Schifter M, Lockhart PB, Wray D, Brennan M, Migliorati CA, Axéll T, Bruce AJ, Carpenter W, Eisenberg E, Epstein JB, Holmstrup P, Jontell M, Lozada-Nur F, Nair R, Silverman B, Thongprasom K, Thornhill M, Warnakulasuriya S, van der Waal I (2007) Oral lichen planus and oral lichenoid lesions: diagnostic and therapeutic considerations. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 103(Suppl):S25.e1–S25.e12Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Scully C, Carrozzo M (2008) Oral mucosal disease: lichen planus. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 46:15–21CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Silverman S Jr, Gorsky M, Lozada-Nur F (1985) A prospective follow-up study of 570 patients with oral lichen planus: persistence, remission, and malignant association. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 60:30–34CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bornstein MM, Kalas L, Lemp S, Altermatt HJ, Rees TD, Buser D (2006) Oral lichen planus and malignant transformation: a retrospective follow-up study of clinical and histopathologic data. Quintessence Int 37:261–271PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Carbone M, Arduino PG, Carrozzo M, Gandolfo S, Argiolas MR, Bertolusso G, Conrotto D, Pentenero M, Broccoletti R (2009) Course of oral lichen planus: a retrospective study of 808 northern Italian patients. Oral Dis 15:235–243CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bermejo-Fenoll A, Sánchez-Siles M, López-Jornet P, Camacho-Alonso F, Salazar-Sánchez N (2010) A retrospective clinicopathological study of 550 patients with oral lichen planus in south-eastern Spain. J Oral Pathol Med 39:491–496CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Llewellyn CD, Warnakulasuriya S (2003) The impact of stomatological disease on oral health-related quality of life. Eur J Oral Sci 111:297–304CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bornstein MM, Hakimi B, Persson GR (2008) Microbiological findings in subjects with asymptomatic oral lichen planus. A cross-sectional comparative study. J Periodontol 79:2347–2355CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Tovaru S, Parlatescu I, Gheorghe C, Tovaru M, Costache M, Sardella A (2013) Oral lichen planus: a retrospective study of 633 patients from Bucharest, Romania. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 18:e201–e206CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Budimir V, Richter I, Andabak-Rogulj A, Vučićević-Boras V, Budimir J, Brailo V (2014) Oral lichen planus—retrospective study of 563 Croatian patients. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 19:e255–e260CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Alves MG, do Carmo CBF, Balducci I, Cabral LA, Nicodemo D, Almeida JD (2015) Emotional assessment of patients with oral lichen planus. Int J Dermatol 54:29–32CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Yarmolinsky DA, Zuker CS, Ryba NJ (2009) Common sense about taste: from mammals to insects. Cell 16(139):234–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Deems DA, Doty RL, Settle RG, Moore-Gillon V, Shaman P, Mester AF, Kimmelman CP, Brightman VJ, Snow JB Jr (1991) Smell and taste disorders, a study of 750 patients from the University of Pennsylvania Smell and Taste Center. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 117:519–528CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Fark T, Hummel C, Hähner A, Nin T, Hummel T (2013) Characteristics of taste disorders. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 270:1855–1860CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Landis BN, Welge-Luessen A, Brämerson A, Bende M, Mueller CA, Nordin S, Hummel T (2009) “Taste Strips”—a rapid, lateralized, gustatory bedside identification test based on impregnated filter papers. J Neurol 256:242–248CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mueller CA, Khatib S, Landis BN, Temmel AF, Hummel T (2007) Gustatory function after tonsillectomy. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 133:668–671CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kramer IR, Lucas RB, Pindborg JJ, Sobin LH, (on behalf of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Precancerous Lesions) (1978) Definition of leukoplakia and related lesions: an aid to studies on oral precancer. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 46:518–539CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    van der Meij EH, Schepman KP, van der Waal I (2003) The possible premalignant character of oral lichen planus and oral lichenoid lesions: a prospective study. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 96:164–171CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Thornhill MH, Sankar V, Xu XJ, Barrett AW, High AS, Odell EW, Speight PM, Farthing PM (2006) The role of histopathological characteristics in distinguishing amalgam-associated oral lichenoid reactions and oral lichen planus. J Oral Pathol Med 35:233–240CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Karbach J, Al-Nawas B, Moergel M, Daubländer M (2014) Oral health-related quality of life of patients with oral lichen planus, oral leukoplakia, or oral squamous cell carcinoma. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 72:1517–1522CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gümrü B (2013) A retrospective study of 370 patients with oral lichen planus in Turkey. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 18:e427–e432CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    McGrath C, Hegarty AM, Hodgson TA, Porter SR (2003) Patient-centred outcome measures for oral mucosal disease are sensitive to treatment. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 32:334–336CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    López-Jornet P, Camacho-Alonso F (2010) Quality of life in patients with oral lichen planus. J Eval Clin Pract 16:111–113CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Fädler A, Hartmann T, Bernhart T, Monshi B, Rappersberger K, Hof M, Dvorak G (2015) Effect of personality traits on the oral health-related quality of life in patients with oral mucosal disease. Clin Oral Investig 19:1245–1250CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Soter A, Kim J, Jackman A, Tourbier I, Kaul A, Doty RL (2008) Accuracy of self-report in detecting taste dysfunction. Laryngoscope 118:611–617CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Saito T, Manabe Y, Shibamori Y, Yamagishi T, Igawa H, Tokuriki M, Fukuoka Y, Noda I, Ohtsubo T, Saito H (2001) Long-term follow-up results of electrogustometry and subjective taste disorder after middle ear surgery. Laryngoscope 111(11 Pt 1):2064–2070CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Hegarty AM, Hodgson TA, Lewsey JD, Porter SR (2002) Fluticasone propionate spray and betamethasone sodium phosphate mouthrinse: a randomized crossover study for the treatment of symptomatic oral lichen planus. J Am Acad Dermatol 47:271–279CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Petruzzi M, De Benedittis M, Grassi R, Cassano N, Vena G, Serpico R (2002) Oral lichen planus: a preliminary clinical study on treatment with tazarotene. Oral Dis 8:291–295CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Bagan J, Compilato D, Paderni C, Campisi G, Panzarella V, Picciotti M, Lorenzini G, Di Fede O (2012) Topical therapies for oral lichen planus management and their efficacy: a narrative review. Curr Pharm Des 18:5470–5480CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ribero S, Stieger M, Quaglino P, Hongang T, Bornstein MM, Naldi L, Borradori L (2015) Efficacy of topical tacrolimus for oral lichen planus: real-life experience in a retrospective cohort of patients with a review of the literature. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 29:1107–1113CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Hummel T, Landis BN, Hüttenbrink KB (2011) Smell and taste disorders. GMS Curr Top Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg 10:Doc04. doi: 10.3205/cto000077
  41. 41.
    Glazar I, Urek MM, Brumini G, Pezelj-Ribaric S (2010) Oral sensorial complaints, salivary flow rate and mucosal lesions in the institutionalized elderly. J Oral Rehabil 37:93–99CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie G. A. Suter
    • 1
  • Simona Negoias
    • 2
  • Hergen Friedrich
    • 2
  • Basile N. Landis
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marco-Domenico Caversaccio
    • 2
  • Michael M. Bornstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oral Surgery and Stomatology, School of Dental MedicineUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department for ENT, Head and Neck SurgeryBern University HospitalBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Rhinology-Olfactology Unit, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity Hospitals of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations