Early detection of oral cancer is crucial in improving survival rate. Identification and detection of oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMD) allow delivery of interventions to reduce the evolution of these disorders to malignancy. A variety of new and emerging diagnostic aids and adjunctive techniques are currently available to potentially assist in the detection of OPMD. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the accuracy of autofluorescence against conventional oral examination and surgical biopsy. A total of 126 patients, 70 males and 56 females (mean age 58.5±11.9 years) who presented to the Oral Medicine Clinics at King's and Guy's Hospitals, London with oral white and red patches suspicious of OPMD were enrolled. Following a complete visual and autofluorescence examination, all underwent an incisional biopsy for histopathological assessment. Seventy patients had oral leukoplakia/erythroplakia, 32 had oral lichen planus, 9 chronic hyperplastic candidiasis and rest frictional keratosis (13) or oral submucous fibrosis (2). Of 126 lesions, 105 (83%) showed loss of fluorescence. Following biopsy 44 had oral epithelial dysplasia (29 mild, 8 moderate and 7 severe). The sensitivity (se) and specificity (sp) of autofluorescence for the detection of a dysplastic lesion was 84.1% and 15.3% respectively. While VELscope was useful in confirming the presence of oral leukoplakia and erythroplakia and other oral mucosal disorders, the device was unable to discriminate high-risk from low-risk lesions.
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