(redirected from Oral leukoplakia)
Also found in: Dictionary, Encyclopedia.


a disease marked by the development of white thickened patches on the mucous membranes of the cheeks (leukoplakia buccalis), gums, or tongue (leukoplakia lingualis); the patches sometimes form fissures and often become malignant. They may grow into larger patches or form ulcers. Those in the mouth may in time cause pain during swallowing of food or speaking. Leukoplakia affects mostly middle-aged to elderly men, often after prolonged irritation of the mouth from such varying factors as badly fitting dentures or immoderate use of tobacco.

Treatment is aimed at removing any possible cause of physical or chemical irritation; the patient should give up tobacco and possibly also alcohol and extremely hot food. Dental attention may be necessary if teeth are uneven or dentures do not fit properly. Surgical removal of the affected area is relatively simple and may be the best means of preventing further development of the condition.
oral hairy leukoplakia a white filiform to flat patch occurring on the tongue or, rarely, on the buccal mucosa, caused by infection with Epstein-Barr virus and associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection.
leukoplakia vul´vae the presence of hypertrophic grayish-white infiltrated patches on the vulvar mucosa; specific diagnosis is determined by biopsy.


A white patch of oral or female genital mucous membrane that cannot be wiped off and cannot be diagnosed clinically as any specific disease entity; in current usage, a clinical term without histologic connotation.
Synonym(s): smoker's patches
[leuko- + G. plax, plate]


/leu·ko·pla·kia/ (-pla´ke-ah)
1. a white patch on a mucous membrane that will not rub off.

atrophic leukoplakia  lichen sclerosus in females.
oral leukoplakia  white, thick patches on the oral mucosa due to hyperkeratosis of the epithelium, producing favorable conditions for development of epidermoid carcinoma; often occurring on the cheeks (l. bucca´lis), gums, or tongue (l. lingua´lis) .
oral hairy leukoplakia  a white filiform to flat patch on the tongue or the buccal mucosa, caused by infection with Epstein-Barr virus and associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection.
leukoplakia vul´vae 
1. lichen sclerosus in females.
2. any white-appearing lesion of the vulva.


(lo͞o′kə-plā′kē-ə) also


An abnormal condition characterized by white spots or patches on mucous membranes, especially of the mouth and vulva. Also called leukoplasia.


Etymology: Gk, leukos + plakos, plate
a precancerous, slowly developing change in a mucous membrane characterized by thickened, white, firmly attached patches that are slightly raised and sharply circumscribed. They may occur on the penis or vulva. Those appearing on the lips and buccal mucosa are associated with pipe smoking. Malignant potential is evaluated by microscopic study of biopsied tissue. Compare lichen planus. See also lichen sclerosis et atrophicus.
enlarge picture

leukoplakia (vulvar)

Chronic vulvar dystrophy, see there.  

The term leukoplakia continues to be widely used (incorrectly) in the working gynaecological parlance; the error lies in that the term leukoplakia merely refers to the macroscopic appearance of white patches in the postmenopausal vulva, which most commonly correspond to hyper- or parakeratosis and far less commonly to carcinoma in situ or Paget's disease. The portent of vulvar leukoplakia is thus in sharp contrast to oral leukoplakia, which is generally regarded as a pre-malignant lesion.


A potentially precancerous white patch or plaque on a mucosa characterized by epithelial hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis, often caused by chronic irritation; leukoplakia–LP affects the mucosa of oral cavity, upper respiratory tract, vulva, uterine cervix, renal pelvis, urinary bladder; in each site, the significance differs ENT Smoker's keratosis A white plaque or patch on the oral mucosa. See Hairy leukoplakia Ob/Gyn A white plaque or patch on the vaginal mucosa, seen without magnification or acetic acid, and often elevated from surrounding surfaces with a sharp border and Lugol's non-staining Histology Hyperkeratosis, possibly epithelial proliferation. See Speckled leukoplakia.


A white patch of oral mucous membrane that cannot be wiped off and cannot be diagnosed clinically; the spots are smooth, irregular in size and shape, hard, and occasionally fissured. Often associated with pipe smoking. Biopsy may show malignant or premalignant changes.
Synonym(s): leucoplakia.
[leuko- + G. plax, plate]


(loo?ko-pla'ke-a) [ leuko- + Gr. plax, plate + -ia]
Enlarge picture
Formation of white spots or patches on the mucous membrane of the tongue or cheek. The spots are smooth, irregular in size and shape, hard, and occasionally fissured. The lesions may become malignant. Synonym: leukokoria; leukoplasia; smoker's tongue See: illustration

leukoplakia buccalis

Leukoplakia of the mucosa of the cheek.
Enlarge picture

oral hairy leukoplakia

Leukoplakia of the tongue. It is typically found in immunocompromised patients is a result of Epstein-Barr virus infection.

leukoplakia vulvae

Lichen sclerosis et atrophicus.


A thickened white patch occurring on a mucous membrane, especially inside the mouth, on the lips or on the female genitalia. Leukoplakia is a response to long-term irritation and is a PRECANCEROUS condition that should never be ignored.

leukoplakia (lōō·kō·plaˑ·kē·),

n plaque like white lesion that develops in the oral mucosa. Typically a sign of bodily irritation in response to cigarette smoke or tobacco chewing. In 10% of cases, these lesions are considered precancerous.
Enlarge picture


White patch of oral or female genital mucous membrane that cannot be wiped off and cannot be diagnosed clinically as any specific disease entity; in current usage, no histologic connotation.
Synonym(s): leucoplakia.
[leuko- + G. plax, plate]

leukoplakia (loo´kōplā´kēə),

n a white plaque formed on the oral mucosa from surface epithelial cells with an unknown etiology. It is leathery, opaque, and somewhat thickened. Excluded from this are the white lesions of lichen planus, white sponge nevus, burns, thrush, and other clinically recognizable entities. Histologically, hyperkeratosis, acanthosis, and subepithelial and perivascular infiltrate of round cells may be seen. Dyskeratosis may be present. These lesions may progress to malignancy, with cellular atypicism, dyskeratosis, epithelial pearl formation, and infiltration of malignant cells into connective tissue. See also dyskeratosis; hyperkeratosis.
Enlarge picture
leukoplakia, hairy,
n a white lesion appearing on the lateral surface of the tongue and occasionally on the buccal mucosa of patients with AIDS. The lesion appears raised, with a corrugated or “hairy” surface as a result of keratin projections.
References in periodicals archive ?
Roed-Peterson B, Pindborg JJ: A study of Danish snuff-induced oral leukoplakia.
Dermatologic Effects of Smokeless Tobacco Direct Effects Indirect Effects Localized gingival recession Oral carcinoma Increased dental caries Esophageal carcinoma Halitosis Pharyngolaryngeal carcinomas Tooth discoloration Gastric carcinoma Tooth abrasions Oral leukoplakia
Since oral leukoplakia is a well-established pre-cancerous lesion, tea treatment may delay the progress of oral leukoplakia to cancer and this may prevent the development of cancer," said Dr.
In addition, DUSA is supporting research related to oral leukoplakia in collaboration with National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Also, oral leukoplakia and oral sub-mucous fibrosis have been widely prevalent in India and a cause for concern to scientists in the country.
The report also said "the use of smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer and oral leukoplakia (precancerous oral lesions), and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and nicotine addiction.
The company also plans follow-on studies in liver metastases from colorectal cancer and in oral leukoplakia.
Medical Solutions plc, the specialist healthcare company dedicated to solving identified medical problems using patented technology, announces that a paper published in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine provides evidence that the company's Fairfield DNA Ploidy System is a powerful predictor of the risk of oral cancer developing in patients with oral leukoplakia.
BBIC is currently undergoing Phase II evaluation as an agent to prevent cancer in patients who have oral leukoplakia with funding from the National Cancer Institute.
The specific protocol approved for study with this IDE is a double blind, randomized study of patients with oral leukoplakia, a pre-cancerous condition in the mouth.
During preliminary studies in India among chewers of tobacco-containing betel quids, researchers at the British Columbia, Cancer Research Center in Vancouver have found various oral doses of vitamin A and beta carotene not only cause remission of precancerous areas called oral leukoplakias, but also prevent new lesions from forming.