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J Am Dent Assoc. 2010 May;141(5):509-20.

Evidence-based clinical recommendations regarding screening for oral squamous cell carcinomas.

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  • 1College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.



This article presents evidence-based clinical recommendations developed by a panel convened by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. This report addresses the potential benefits and potential risks of screening for oral squamous cell carcinomas and the use of adjunctive screening aids to visualize and detect potentially malignant and malignant oral lesions.


The panel members conducted a systematic search of MEDLINE, identifying 332 systematic reviews and 1,499 recent clinical studies. They selected five systematic reviews and four clinical studies to use as a basis for developing recommendations.


The panel concluded that screening by means of visual and tactile examination to detect potentially malignant and malignant lesions may result in detection of oral cancers at early stages of development, but that there is insufficient evidence to determine if screening alters disease-specific mortality in asymptomatic people seeking dental care.


The panel suggested that clinicians remain alert for signs of potentially malignant lesions or early-stage cancers while performing routine visual and tactile examinations in all patients, but particularly in those who use tobacco or who consume alcohol heavily. Additional research regarding oral cancer screening and the use of adjuncts is needed.

Comment in

  • Oral cancer. [J Am Dent Assoc. 2010]
  • Clinical recommendations for oral cancer screening. [Evid Based Dent. 2010]
  • More about oral cancer. [J Am Dent Assoc. 2010]
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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