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Oral Oncol. 2015 Aug;51(8):738-44. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2015.04.016. Epub 2015 May 16.

Molecular events in relapsed oral squamous cell carcinoma: Recurrence vs. secondary primary tumor.

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Laboratory of Medical Genomics, International Research Center, A. C. Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, School of Dentistry, University of Liverpool and Cellular Pathology, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, UK.
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Otorhinolaryngology, A. C. Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Otolaryngology, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain; Instituto Universitario de Oncología del Principado de Asturias, Oviedo, Spain.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Oncology, Section Head and Neck Oncology, University Hospitals KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Greek Anticancer Institute, Saint Savvas Hospital, Athens, Greece.
University of Udine School of Medicine, Udine, Italy. Electronic address:
Coordinator of the International Head and Neck Scientific Group.
Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Otorhinolaryngology, A. C. Camargo Cancer Center and National Institute of Science and Technology on Oncogenomics (INCITO), São Paulo, Brazil.


Relapses have a great impact on both the morbidity and mortality rates of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients. Current classification criteria are imprecise and need improvements. Recent advances in understanding of OSCC relapses on a molecular level provide new possibilities to better classify true recurrences and second primary tumors. This review discusses the limitations of the current OSCC relapse classification method and presents possible alternatives to improve this classification based on molecular techniques. Moreover, these molecular techniques add to the further understanding of these lesions and may provide tools for clinical management.


Molecular diagnosis; Oral cancer; Recurrence; Relapse; Second primary neoplasm; Squamous cell carcinoma

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