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This case-control study evaluated the association of the single nucleotide polymorphism rs7372209 (T>C) in pri-mir-26a-1 with the risk and progression of betel quid (BQ)-related oral premalignant lesions (OPLs) and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).In total, 597 BQ chewers were recruited: 196 healthy controls, 241 patients with OPLs, and 160 patients with OSCC. Genotypes were determined using the TaqMan real-time assay.The C/T + T/T genotypes and T allele in pri-mir-26a-1 were correlated with a decreased risk of BQ-related OPLs (P = .038 and .005, respectively), oral leukoplakia (P = .01 and .001, respectively), and advanced-stage OSCC (P = .021 and .004, respectively). The effects of the C/T + T/T genotypes and T allele on the decreased risk of OPLs were potent in the older age group (both Pinteraction < .001), heavy smokers (Pinteraction ≤ .003 and .006, respectively) and alcohol drinkers (Pinteraction ≤ .004 and .001, respectively). Furthermore, among patients with OSCC, the C/T + T/T genotypes and T allele were associated with a decreased risk of advanced pathologic stage (P = .032) and lymph node involvement (P = .017).BQ chewers carrying the T allele or C/T + T/T genotypes in pri-mir-26a-1 may have a decreased risk of oral leukoplakia, OPLs, and advanced-stage OSCC.