Potentially Malignant Disorders of the Oral Cavity

  • David C. Williams
  • William T. McGaw
Part of the Head and Neck Cancer Clinics book series (HNCC)


The term ‘potentially malignant disorder’ (PMD) of the oral cavity was created by a working group of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Pathology and Precancer. It is currently used to describe ‘white plaques of questionable risk, having excluded other known diseases and diseases that carry no increased risk for cancer’ [1]. Not all lesions under the umbrella of PMD transform into cancer, but they are still included as they belong to a morphological group that has an increased potential for malignant transformation [1, 2]. Several clinical entities can be classified as a PMD, with the most common being leukoplakia, erythroplakia, lichen planus, oral submucous fibrosis, palatal lesions in reverse smokers, actinic keratosis and hereditary disorders with increased risk [1]. This chapter will examine oral leukoplakia, oral lichen planus (OLP), erythroplakia and oral submucous fibrosis; the clinical presentation, prevalence and risk factors, histology, molecular genetics, risk of malignant transformation and treatment will be discussed.


Malignant Transformation Buccal Mucosa Actinic Keratosis Lichen Planus Oral Submucous Fibrosis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of General Surgery2D4.39 Walter Mackenzie Health Sciences CenterEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Division of Oral Medicine and PathologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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