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Chin J Dent Res. 2016 Mar;19(1):17-23. doi: 10.3290/j.cjdr.a35693.

Human Papilloma Virus in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma - The Enigma Unravelled.


Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC) has long been regarded as a disease entity having a remarkable incidence worldwide and a fairly onerous prognosis; thus encouraging further research on factors that might modify disease outcome. Squamous cell carcinomas encompass at least 90% of all oral malignancies. Several factors like tobacco and tobacco-related products, alcohol, genetic predisposition and hormonal factors are suspected as possible causative factors. Human papilloma virus (HPV), the causal agent of cervical cancer also appears to be involved in the aetiology of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. HPVpositive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) seems to differ from HPV-negative SCC. Many questions about the natural history of oral HPV infection remain under investigation. The aim of this review is to highlight the current understanding of HPV-associated oral cancer with an emphasis on its prognosis, detection and management.

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