Erythroplakia and Erythroleucoplakia

  • Lakshminarasimman Parasuraman
  • Munita Bal
  • Prathamesh S. Pai
Part of the Head and Neck Cancer Clinics book series (HNCC)


In 1911, the French dermatologist Louis Queyrat described a sharply defined, bright red, glistening velvety precancerous lesion of the glans penis giving rise to the term ‘erythroplasia of Queyrat’ [1]. In 1978 WHO defined erythroplakia as a “fiery red patch that cannot be characterized clinically or pathologically as any other definable disease” [2]. Bouquot in 1994 updated the definition for erythroplakia as “a chronic red mucosal macule which cannot be given another specific diagnostic name and cannot be attributed to traumatic, vascular, or inflammatory causes” [3]. Erythroplakia and erythroleucoplakia (Speckled leucoplakia) are clinical terms and have no specific histopathologic definition. The correlation between the clinical terminology and pathologic counterparts like hyperplasia, dysplasia and hyperkeratosis are imperfect and that contributes to confusion.


  1. 1.
    Queyrat L. Erythroplasie de gland. Bull Soc Franc Derm Syph. 1911;22:378–82.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Warnakulasuriya S, Johnson NW, van der Waal I. Nomenclature and classification of potentially malignant disorders of the oral mucosa. J Oral Pathol Med. 2007;36:575–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bouquot JE. Oral leukoplakia and erythroplakia: a review and update. Pract Periodontics Aesthet Dent. 1994;6:9–17. quiz 19.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Shafer WG, Waldron CA. Erythroplakia of the oral cavity. Cancer. 1975;36:1021–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lay KM, Sein K, Myint A, Ko SK, Pindborg JJ. Epidemiologic study of 600 villagers of oral precancerous lesions in Bilugyun: preliminary report. Commun Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1982;10:152–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hashibe M, et al. Chewing tobacco, Alcohol, and the risk of erythroplakia mia hashibe cancer epidemiology. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000;9:639–45.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Syrjanen S, et al. Human papillomaviruses in oral carcinoma and oral potentially malignant disorders: a systematic review. Oral Dis. 2011;17(Suppl 1):58–72. Scholar
  8. 8.
    Villa A, Villa C, Abati S. Oral cancer and oral erythroplakia: an update and implication for clinicians. Aust Dent J. 2011;56(3):253–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shear M. Erythroplakia of the mouth. Int Dent J. 1972;22(4):460–73.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jepsen A, Winther JE. Mycotic infection in oral leukoplakia. Acta Odontol Scand. 1965;23:239–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Field EA, Field JK, Martin MV. Does candida have a role in oral epithelial neoplasia? J Med Vet Mycol. 1989;27:277–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Reichart PA, Philipsen HP. Oral erythroplakia: a review. Oral Oncol. 2005;41(6):551–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Precancerous Lesions. Definition of leukoplakia and related lesions: an aid to studies on oral precancer. Oral Surg. 1978;46:518–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Pindborg JJ, Reibel J, Holmstrup P. Subjectivity in evaluating oral epithelial dysplasia, carcinoma in situ and initial carcinoma. J Oral Pathol. 1985;14:698–708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Abbey LM, Kaugars GE, Gunsolley JC, et al. Intraexaminer and interexaminer reliability in the diagnosis of oral epithelial dysplasia. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1995;80:188–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Vered M, Allon I, Dayan D. Maspin, p53, p63, and Ki-67 in epithelial lesions of the tongue: from hyperplasia through dysplasia to carcinoma. J Oral Pathol Med. 2009;38:314–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kurokawa H, Matsumoto S, Murata T, Yamashita Y, Tomoyose T, Zhang M, Fukuyama H, Takahashi T. Immunohistochemical study of syndecan-1 down-regulation and the expression of p53 protein or Ki-67 antigen in oral leukoplakia with or without epithelial dysplasia. J Oral Pathol Med. 2003;32:513–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kannan S, Balaram P, Chandran GJ, Pillai MR, Mathew B, Nalinakumari KR, Nair MK. Differential expression of cytokeratin proteins during tumour progression in oral mucosa. Epithelial Cell Biol. 1994;3(2):61–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wayne S, Robinson RA. Upper aerodigestive tract squamous dysplasia: correlation with p16, p53, pRb, and Ki-67 expression. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2006;130:1309–14.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Qin G‐Z, et al. A high prevalence of p53 mutations in pre‐malignant oral erythroplakia. Int J Cancer. 1999;80(3):345–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hittelman WN, et al. Early genetic changes during upper aerodigestive tract tumorigenesis. J Cell Biochem. 1993;53(S17F):233–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Walsh T, et al. Clinical assessment to screen for the detection of oral cavity cancer and potentially malignant disorders in apparently healthy adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(11):CD010173.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Onofre MA, et al. Diagnosis of potentially malignant epithelial lesions. Oral Dis. 1997;3(3):148–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Balasundaram I, et al. Is there any benefit in surgery for potentially malignant disorders of the oral cavity? J Oral Pathol Med. 2014;43(4):239–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Yang S-W, et al. Clinical characteristics of narrow-band imaging of oral erythroplakia and its correlation with pathology. BMC Cancer. 2015;15(1):1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Tan NCW, et al. Use of narrow band imaging guidance in the management of oral erythroplakia. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2011;49(6):488–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mashberg A, Samit A. Early diagnosis of asymptomatic oraland oropharyngeal squamous cancers. CA Cancer J Clin. 1995;45:328–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Mashberg A. Erythroplasia: the earliest sign of asymptomatic oral cancer. J Am Dent Assoc. 1978;96:615–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Bouquot JE, Ephros H. Erythroplakia: the dangerous red mucosa. Pract Periodontics Aesthet Dent. 1995;7:59–67.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter A. Brennan, Tom Aldridge, Raghav C. Dwivedi, Rehan Kazi 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lakshminarasimman Parasuraman
    • 1
  • Munita Bal
    • 2
  • Prathamesh S. Pai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Head and Neck Surgical OncologyTata Memorial CentreMumbaiIndia
  2. 2.Department of PathologyTata Memorial CentreMumbaiIndia

Personalised recommendations