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Authors Isenberg JS, Crozier DL, Dailey SH
Journal Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. Volume: 117 Issue: 1 Pages: 74-9
Publish Date 2008 Jan
PubMed ID 18254375

The nature and interpretation of vocal fold leukoplakia has been limited by small study sizes. The present study reviewed institutional data and the published literature to better characterize vocal fold leukoplakia.At our institution, the histopathology, age, and malignant conversion rates of 136 patients (208 biopsies) with vocal fold leukoplakia from 1990 to 2005 were reviewed.No dysplasia (ND), mild and/or moderate dysplasia (MM), and severe dysplasia and/or squamous cell carcinoma in situ (SS) was identified in, respectively, 110 of 208 (53%), 38 of 208 (18%), and 31 of 208 (15%) biopsies. After 30 months (range, 1 to 134 months), malignant transformation was observed in 8 patients on subsequent biopsies. Additionally, a literature search was performed from 1960 to 2005 for the medical subject headings (MeSH) premalignant laryngeal lesions, laryngeal dysplasia, laryngeal leukoplakia, vocal cord dysplasia, and hyperkeratosis of the larynx. Fifteen reports were included for review. When these were combined with our institutional data, 1,173 of 2,188 biopsies (53.6%) revealed ND. Mild and/or moderate dysplasia and SS were present in 717 of 2,140 (33.5%) and 375 of 2,471 (15.2%) biopsies, respectively. Squamous cell carcinoma developed in 52 of 1,388 (3.7%), 83 of 824 (10.1%), and 56 of 310 (18.1%) patients whose initial biopsies demonstrated ND, MM, or SS.More than half of the reported leukoplakia lesions with biopsies showed ND. However, even lesions characterized as ND were associated with an increased risk of development of squamous cell carcinoma. Importantly, the risk of developing malignancy appears to correlate with the severity of dysplasia present on initial biopsy. Because clinical examination does not accurately predict the risk of malignancy, future studies, including genomic evaluation of this lesion, may be necessary to further characterize its biologic behavior. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System