Malignant transformation and natural history of oral leukoplakia in 57,518 industrial workers of Gujarat, India

Cancer. 1976 Oct;38(4):1790-5. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(197610)38:4<1790::aid-cncr2820380456>;2-i.


In Gujarat, India, 6718 industrial workers, over 35 years of age, with oral leukoplakia (confirmed clinically and microscopically), were studied. After 2 years, 4762 (71%) of the individuals were re-examined. The buccal mucosa was the most common site of occurrence; 98.3% of these individuals had oral habits, with smoking alone or smoking in combination with "pan" or "supari" chewing accounting for 74.9% of the habit forms. Six individuals (0.13%) with oral leukoplakia developed oral carcinomas within 2 years. This incidence of malignant transformation was equivalent to 63/100,000 per year, which far exceeds that of new oral cancers expected even in high-risk populations. While 57.3% the leukoplakic lesions remained unchanged during a 2-year interval, 31.6% disappeared and 11% had an altered appearance. This study confirmed the precancerous nature of oral leukoplakia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • India
  • Leukoplakia, Oral / etiology*
  • Leukoplakia, Oral / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Precancerous Conditions / epidemiology
  • Risk
  • Smoking / complications
  • Tobacco, Smokeless