Objectives: Evaluate whether regular follow-up of oral leukoplakia (OL) resulted in early detection of malignant transformation (MT). Method: Two hundred and twenty-two consecutive patients with OL (147 females, 75 males); median follow-up period of 64 months (range: 12–300). Three groups were distinguished: group A (n = 92) follow-up at the hospital; group B (n = 84) follow-up by their dentist; group C (n = 46) lost to follow-up. Results: OLs in group B compared to group A, were smaller in size (<2 cm; p < 0.001), showed more hyperkeratosis (p < 0.001) and less moderate/severe dysplasia (p < 0.001). MT occurred in 45 (20%) patients: 32 (35%) in group A, five (6%) in group B and eight (17%) in group C. There was no significant difference in clinical tumour size between group A (median: 15 mm, range: 1–40) and group B (median: 10 mm, range: 3–25; p = 0.496). Tumour size was smaller for patients in groups A and B (median: 10 mm, range 1–40) compared to group C (median: 33 mm, range: 3–100; p = 0.003). There was a positive correlation between tumour size and interval between the last visit in all patients (p = 0.022). Conclusion: Regular follow-up of OL resulted in early detection of MT. If properly selected, follow-up of OL performed by the dentist seems feasible.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOral diseases
Early online date2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


  • early detection of cancer
  • oral cancer
  • oral epithelial dysplasia
  • oral leukoplakia
  • oral potentially malignant disorder
  • oral squamous cell carcinoma

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