Oral Epithelial Dysplasia: A Review of Diagnostic Criteria for Anatomic Pathologists

Adv Anat Pathol. 2022 Jul 1;29(4):227-240. doi: 10.1097/PAP.0000000000000343. Epub 2022 Apr 19.


Oral epithelial dysplasia (OED) represents a spectrum of histologic changes in the oral cavity mucosa that has the potential to transform into oral squamous cell carcinoma. Predicting the risk of malignant transformation is predominantly based on clinicopathologic correlation, histologic examination and grading. OED often poses a diagnostic challenge, primarily due to its histologic mimics and a large number of terminologies used in the literature. The grading system for OED is also fraught with significant interobserver variability. This review summarizes the essential clinical and histopathologic features of OED and its mimics. Practical preanalytical, analytical, and postanalytical considerations for anatomic pathologists are discussed to improve the diagnostic accuracy and increase the reproducibility in the grading of OED.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Mouth Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Mouth Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Pathologists
  • Precancerous Conditions* / diagnosis
  • Precancerous Conditions* / pathology
  • Reproducibility of Results