Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity is the most common (by far) of the malignant lesions affecting this region.
As they share epidemiology, pathology and general principles with other squamous cell carcinomas of the upper aerodigestive tract, those topics are covered there. Below are a few general comments specific to the oral cavity. Imaging findings, treatment and prognosis are sometimes subsite-specific and are therefore in some cases discussed separately:
- squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue
- squamous cell carcinoma of the floor of mouth
- squamous cell carcinoma of the retromolar trigone
Epidemiology and risk factors are similar to squamous cell carcinomas elsewhere in the upper aerodigestive tract, with tobacco smoking and alcohol ingestion being major risk factors.
Of note, the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) as an etiological factor for squamous cell carcinoma is strongest oral cavity (compared to other regions in the head and neck), with HPV DNA isolated from up to 50% of cases, and thought responsible for the tumor in over half of these 1-3.
A common staging system is used for all squamous cell carcinomas of the oral cavity, with tumor staging being based on size and extension into adjacent structures. Nodal staging is the same as that used for SCCs of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx and larynx (see: staging of oral cavity squamous cell carcinomas).
The differential diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity is essentially that of other malignant lesions of the oral cavity as well as a few non-neoplastic lesions. It therefore includes:
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- 2. Current Diagnosis and Treatment Surgery Thirteenth Edition. Gerard Doherty. McGraw-Hill Medical ISBN:0071635157 (find it at amazon.com)
- 3. Head and Neck Cancer. Louis B Harrison (Editor), Roy B Sessions (Editor), Waun K Hong (Editor). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ISBN:0781771366 (find it at amazon.com)