Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 975–982 | Cite as

Effectiveness of autofluorescence to identify suspicious oral lesions—a prospective, blinded clinical trial

  • Felix Peter KochEmail author
  • Peer W. Kaemmerer
  • Stefan Biesterfeld
  • Martin Kunkel
  • Wilfried Wagner
Original Article


Regular screening through white light inspection of the entire oral mucosa is the most important examination method to identify precancerous lesions and early oral carcinoma. Additionally, the physiologic autofluorescence of the oral mucosa has been described as a novel screening method for the detection of mucosal lesions that are not visible by white light. This study aimed to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the autofluorescence examination. Seventy-eight patients were examined in this study. All of them suffered from suspicious oral mucosal lesions. Two different investigation methods were applied: the standard examination by white light and an examination by a novel light source of 400 nm that evoked a green light emission (>500 nm) in normal mucosa. It was proposed that malignant oral mucosal lesions show different autofluorescence characteristics than the green autofluorescence of healthy mucosa. Red autofluorescence indicated SCC with a sensitivity of 20% and a specificity of 98%. The results showed that dysplasia and carcinoma could be identified with a sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 18% by using the autofluorescence method. The sensitivity decreased according to the grade of mucosal keratosis and was influenced by the localisation of the lesion. In conclusion, benign as well as malignant oral lesions could not be distinguished by a diminished autofluorescence signal. A red autofluorescence signal, however, could indicate cancerous processes of the oral mucosa.


Autofluorescence Prevention Minimal invasive Oral cancer Diagnostic Clinical trial 



This study was supported by Rocker&Narjes, who supplied the Velscope® fluorescence light source. Prof. Al-Nawas organized the material transfer of Velscope® fluorescence light.

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that they don’t have any conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felix Peter Koch
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Peer W. Kaemmerer
    • 1
  • Stefan Biesterfeld
    • 2
  • Martin Kunkel
    • 3
  • Wilfried Wagner
    • 1
  1. 1.Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryUniversity Medical Centre of the Johannes Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.Institute of CytopathologyDüsseldorf University HospitalDüsseldorfGermany
  3. 3.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryRuhr-University Bochum Medical SchoolBochumGermany
  4. 4.Mund-, Kiefer- und GesichtschirurgieMainzGermany

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