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Oral Oncol. 2002 Jun;38(4):391-3.

Oral yeast carriage correlates with presence of oral epithelial dysplasia.

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Department of Oral Medicine, Eastman Dental Institute for Oral Health Care Sciences, UCL, University of London, 256 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8LD, UK.


Previous studies have suggested a link between the presence of Candida albicans and the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The aim of the present study was to assess the presence and level of colonisation of oral yeast in patients undergoing an incisional oral mucosal biopsy in order to assess whether the amount of oral yeast present correlated with the presence and degree of oral epithelial dysplastic or neoplastic change. Two hundred and twenty-three patients who were undergoing an incisional biopsy for the diagnosis of an oral mucosal lesion were enrolled in this study. Mouth swills were obtained from each patient for the presence and amount of oral yeast present. Some of the patients (44.6%) had a histopathological diagnosis of either oral epithelial dysplasia (OED) or OSCC and the frequency of oral yeast carriage was significantly greater (P<0.001) in these patients than those without histopathologically detected dysplastic or neoplastic oral lesions. Furthermore, significantly (P<0.001) more patients with OED or OSCC had a higher number of yeast (over 1000 cfu/ml) in their oral cavity than patients without any evidence of epithelial dysplasia or neoplasia histopathologically. The degree of epithelial dysplasia present in these patients also correlated with higher amounts of yeast in the oral cavity (P=0.017). The results of the present study reveal that there is an interaction between oral carriage of yeast and oral epithelial dysplasia, however it remains unclear how yeast infection influences the development and progression of dysplasia.

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