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Evidences suggesting involvement of viruses in oral squamous cell carcinoma.

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers and it constitutes a major health problem particularly in developing countries. Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) represents the most frequent of all oral neoplasms. Several risk factors have been well characterized to be associated with OSCC with substantial evidences. The etiology of OSCC is complex and involves many factors. The most clearly defined potential factors are smoking and alcohol, which substantially increase the risk of OSCC. However, despite this clear association, a substantial proportion of patients develop OSCC without exposure to them, emphasizing the role of other risk factors such as genetic susceptibility and oncogenic viruses. Some viruses are strongly associated with OSCC while the association of others is less frequent and may depend on cofactors for their carcinogenic effects. Therefore, the exact role of viruses must be evaluated with care in order to improve the diagnosis and treatment of OSCC. Although a viral association within a subset of OSCC has been shown, the molecular and histopathological characteristics of these tumors have yet to be clearly defined.

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