Leukoplakia in the oral cavity and oral microbiota: A comprehensive review

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We reviewed the current published literature on the impact of oral microbiota on oral cavity leukoplakia (OLK), aiming at clarifying its role in disease transformation. The analysis unveiled that bacterial richness and diversity in the oral cavity tend to be decreased in OLK compared to healthy controls, with a reduction in the prevalent commensals, such as Streptococci, and elevation of anaerobes. Moreover, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia are recurrent findings, and they already have been linked to periodontal disease. These microbial community changes may also represent a marker for the transition from OLK to oral squamous cell carcinoma. Unfortunately, the reviewed studies present several limitations, making an objective comparison difficult. To overcome these biases, longitudinal studies are necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4439
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Dysplasia
  • Microbiome
  • Microbiota
  • Oral cavity cancer
  • Oral cavity leukoplakia
  • Premalig-nant disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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