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Molecular pathogenesis of oral squamous carcinoma
  1. H K Williams1
  1. 1Department of Oral Pathology, Birmingham Dental Hospital and School, St Chad's Queensway, Birmingham, B4 6NN, UK
  1. Dr Williams email: h.k.williams.den{at}


Oral squamous carcinogenesis is a multistep process in which multiple genetic events occur that alter the normal functions of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes. This can result in increased production of growth factors or numbers of cell surface receptors, enhanced intracellular messenger signalling, and/or increased production of transcription factors. In combination with the loss of tumour suppressor activity, this leads to a cell phenotype capable of increased cell proliferation, with loss of cell cohesion, and the ability to infiltrate local tissue and spread to distant sites. Recent advances in the understanding of the molecular control of these various pathways will allow more accurate diagnosis and assessment of prognosis, and might lead the way for more novel approaches to treatment and prevention.

  • oral squamous carcinoma
  • oncogenes
  • tumour suppressor genes
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