Premalignant: Pertaining to tissue that is not yet malignant but is poised to become malignant. Appropriate clinical and laboratory studies are designed to detect premalignant tissue while it is still in a premalignant stage. A battery of techniques are available to remove or kill the tissue, thereby preventing the development of cancer. The proper treatment method depends on the particular premalignant tissue involved. Examples of premalignant growths include polyps in the colon, actinic keratosis of the skin, dysplasia of the cervix, metaplasia of the lung, and leukoplakia (white patches in the mouth).
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016