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International Journal of Dentistry
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 186018, 10 pages
Review Article

A Review of the Nonsurgical Treatment of Oral Leukoplakia

Department of Oral Surgery, Medicine and Pathology, Dental School, Federal University of Minas Gerais, CEP 31.270-901, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Received 19 June 2009; Revised 26 November 2009; Accepted 13 January 2010

Academic Editor: Paul C. Edwards

Copyright © 2010 Adriana Spinola Ribeiro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this paper was to assess the nonsurgical treatment of oral leukoplakia (OL). A medline search from 1983 to 2009 was conducted. The topical or systemic nonsurgical treatments or combination of both was reviewed. The primary outcomes of interest were clinical resolution, malignant transformation, follow-up, and recurrence of OL. Studies showed a rate higher than 50% of clinical resolution with photodynamic therapy, beta-carotene, lycopene, or vitamin A. Few studies reported rates of recurrence from 5 to 67% and of malignant transformation from 8 to 23%. There is a lack of randomized clinical trials that assess the effectiveness of nonsurgical treatment of OL. At this time, randomized controlled trials for nonsurgical treatment of OL demonstrate no evidence of effective treatment in preventing malignant transformation and recurrence. It reinforces that even after clinical resolution, OL should be regularly followed.