• 1 Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry, Oral Health Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
  • 2 Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, Iskandar Puteri, Malaysia
J Oral Pathol Med, 2017 Nov;46(10):888-895.
PMID: 28833670 DOI: 10.1111/jop.12625


BACKGROUND: Oral potentially malignant disorders harbour variable and unpredictable risk for squamous carcinoma development. Whilst current management strategies utilise histopathological diagnoses, dysplasia grading and targeted intervention for "high-risk" lesions, clinicians are unable to predict malignant potential.

METHODS: Detailed, retrospective clinico-pathological analysis of potentially malignant lesions undergoing malignant transformation, from a 590 patient cohort treated by interventional laser surgery and followed for a mean of 7.3 years, was undertaken. Clinical outcome was documented at study census date (31 December 2014).

RESULTS: A total of 99 patients (16.8%) developed cancer: 71 (12%) seen "unexpectedly" upon excision and 28 (4.8%) progressing to malignancy at a median of 87.3 months post-surgery. Thirty "unexpected" excisions were micro-invasive (42.3%) arising primarily in severely dysplastic precursors (75%) at ventro-lateral tongue and floor of mouth sites (54.5%); 1 patient (1.4%) had a cancer-related death, whilst 58 (81.7%) were disease free. A total of 19 of 28 "progressive" cancers (67.9%) arose at new sites, with erythroleukoplakia a significant predictor of malignancy (P = .0019). Nine (32.1%) developed at the same precursor site, with 6 (77.7%) on the ventro-lateral tongue and floor of mouth. Three (10.7%) were micro-invasive, 9 patients (32.1%) died from metastatic disease and 12 (42.9%) were disease free (P < .001).

CONCLUSION: Squamous carcinoma may arise at the site of a precursor lesion as transformation or new-site development via field cancerisation. Whilst interventional surgery facilitates early diagnosis and treatment of occult disease, thus reducing risk from same-site transformation, new-site cancer is a significant long-term risk for patients with potentially malignant disorder.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.