Vocal fold leukoplakia: incidence, management, and prevention

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of this article is to provide an update on English-language literature evaluating the current understanding of incidence, management, and prevention of vocal fold leukoplakia focusing on premalignancy.

Recent findings

Recent studies have continued to try to elucidate factors influencing recurrence and progression of dysplastic disease, though results vary. Although advanced diagnostic techniques have attempted to predict disease behavior, tissue diagnosis continues to be essential. Studies reinforce the necessity of removal of disease as the primary treatment, whereas use of photoangiolytic lasers via the ablative technique has increased, as has transition of some patients into the office-based settings for treatment. Although genetic and molecular testing may hold promise for predictive purposes, further study is necessary, and chemotherapy for recalcitrant disease continues to be an area of study with few case studies being reported.

Summary

Management of vocal fold leukoplakia continues to progress in terms of identification and treatment. Although many work to advance our knowledge in the field and push treatment strategies toward newer avenues, pathologic diagnosis, eradiation of disease on the basis of experience and skill, and close surveillance continue to be paramount.

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