Surgical specimens from the cheek mucosa of 73 patients with white lesions were studied to determine various morphometric parameters that would help differentiate between the various types of oral mucosal white lesions that carry a risk of malignant change. Four cell types were represented: traumatic keratosis, leucoplakia, candidal leucoplakia and lichen planus, in addition to a control group of normal mucosa. The shape and size of the epithelial cells in two cell compartments, parabasal and spinous, were investigated by an interactive image analysis system (IBAS-1). The results showed an increase in the cell size in the parabasal cell compartment of all the white lesions compared with the normal mucosa. In the spinous cell compartment there was an increase in the cell size in lichen planus and traumatic keratosis; leucoplakia and candidal leucoplakia showed a slight decrease in cell size compared with the normal mucosa. Attempts to discriminate between the four groups of white lesions showed that these parameters can provide a high level of separation between lichen planus and the three other groups, but not between leucoplakia, candidal leucoplakia, and traumatic keratosis.