The ultrastructural features of the premalignant oral lesions

Vol. 59 No. 1, 2018


Doinita Olinici, Carmen Elena Cotrutz, Ciprian Valentin Mihali, Vasile Bogdan Grecu, Emanuela Ana Botez, Laura Stoica, Pavel Onofrei, Oana Condurache, Daniela Cristina Dimitriu

Premalignant oral lesions are among the most important risk factors for the development of oral squamocellular carcinoma. Recent population studies indicate a significant rise in the prevalence of leukoplakia, erythroplakia/erythroleukoplakia, actinic cheilitis, submucous fibrosis and erosive lichen planus. Since standard histopathological examination has numerous limitations regarding the accurate appreciation of potential malignant transformation, the present study aims to aid these evaluations using the transmission electron microscopy (TEM) technique, which emphasizes ultrastructural changes pertaining to this pathology. Oral mucosa fragments collected from 43 patients that were clinically and histopathologically diagnosed with leukoplakia, erosive actinic cheilitis and erosive lichen planus have been processed through the classic technique for the examination using TEM and were examined using a Philips CM100 transmission electron microscope. The electron microscopy study has confirmed the histopathological diagnosis of the tissue samples examined using photonic microscopy and has furthermore revealed a series of ultrastructural details that on the one hand indicate the tendency for malignant transformation, and on the other reveal characteristic features of tumor development. All the details furnished by TEM complete the overall picture of morphological changes, specific to these lesions, indicating the importance of using these techniques in establishing both a correct diagnosis and prognosis.

Corresponding author: Carmen Elena Cotrutz, Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:

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