Exploring the link between microorganisms and oral cancer: A systematic review of the literature

Authors

  • Samuel J. Hooper PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Tissue Engineering and Reparative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XY, United Kingdom
    • Tissue Engineering and Reparative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XY, United Kingdom
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  • Melanie J. Wilson MRCPath, PhD,

    1. Tissue Engineering and Reparative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XY, United Kingdom
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  • St. John Crean FRCS(OMFS), PhD

    1. Peninsula Dental School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, John Bull Building, Tamar Science Park, Plymouth, PL6 8BU, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The majority of cases of oral cancer have been related to tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption. However, the incidence of oral cavity carcinoma appears to be increasing in many parts of the world in a manner that it is difficult to explain with traditional risk factors alone. Meanwhile, interest in the possible relationships between microorganisms and the different stages of cancer development has been rising and numerous mechanisms by which bacteria and yeast may initiate or promote carcinogenesis are currently under investigation. In particular, a persuasive body of evidence suggests a possible etiological role involving the metabolism and production of carcinogenic products, such as acetaldehyde. Other suggested mechanisms include the induction of chronic inflammation and direct interference with eukaryotic cell cycle and signaling pathways. This review aims to summarize the known associations between microbial infection and cancer and draw attention to how they may relate to oral carcinoma. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2009

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