Oral leukoplakia and oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma

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26 Scopus citations


Oral leukoplakia is defined as a white oral lesion not related to another disease process. These lesions are largely asymptomatic, and the clinical relevance of oral leukoplakia is primarily tied to its association with oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. Timely workup and effective management of these lesions can reduce the risk of malignant transformation and promote early diagnosis of invasive tumors. A biopsy should be performed promptly of any persistent or suspicious leukoplakia with subsequent management dictated by histologic findings. Benign lesions can be observed or treated with topical therapy, and dysplastic lesions should be excised. Some risk of malignant transformation remains even after treatment, and close follow-up is required. Oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma is an aggressive malignancy that can result from malignant conversion of oral leukoplakia or occur de novo. These tumors are primarily treated with surgical resection and adjuvant radiation or chemoradiation as dictated by histopathologic findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
JournalClinics in Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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