Background: The malignant transformation of oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs) is a potential cause of oral cancers. However, epidemiological studies on malignant transformation of OPMDs are lacking. The present study is aimed to investigate the percentage of OPMD in the oral mucosal screening database and the malignant transformation (%) across different regions of Taiwan. Methods: We determined the cases of malignant transformation of OPMD to oral cancers during the 2-year follow-up by the oral mucosal screening database and the cancer registry database contained in the National Health Insurance Research Database. Patients with oral cancer history before OPMD diagnosis were excluded from the study. We collected data including clinical diagnosis, biopsy result, follow-up, and place of residence of the patient. The most widely used definition from the Council for Economic Planning and Development in Taiwan was used in this study for the classification into Southern, Northern, Eastern, and Western Taiwan regions. Differences in the malignant transformation (%) and ranking between regions were evaluated using analysis of variance test. Results: Chiayi city located in Southern Taiwan has the highest percentage of OPMD in oral screening citizen. The percentage of OPMD in the oral mucosal screening database was highest in Southern Taiwan and lowest in Eastern Taiwan; however, the malignant transformation (%) was highest in the Eastern Taiwan and lowest in Northern Taiwan. Conclusion: Dentists and otolaryngologists in Southern Taiwan, especially Chiayi city, should be cautious when screening the patient because of the high percentage of OPMD in oral mucosal screening database. The percentage of OPMD in the oral mucosal screening database and the malignant transformation (%) are different among the different regions in Taiwan. Further research is needed to clarify the reasons for the different malignant transformation (%) between regions.
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