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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 214-218

Biomarkers in molecular epidemiology study of oral squamous cell carcinoma in the era of precision medicine

1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China
2 Department of Outpatient, Xi'an Communication College, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China

Correspondence Address:
Dr. An-Hui Wang
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710032, Shaanxi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ctm.ctm_32_17

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Oral cancer, which occurs in the mouth, lips, and tongue, is a multifactorial disease whose etiology involves environment, genetic, and epigenetic factors. Tobacco use and alcohol consumption are regarded as the primary risk factors for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), and betel use, other chemicals, radiation, environmental, and genetics are reported as relevant risk factors for oral carcinogenesis. The human papillomavirus infection is an independent risk factor. Traditional epidemiology studies have revealed that environmental carcinogens are risk factors for OSCC. Molecular epidemiology studies have revealed that the susceptibility to OSCC is influenced by both environmental and genetic risk factors. However, the details and mechanisms of risk factors involved in OSCC are unclear. Advanced methods and techniques used in human genome studies provide great opportunities for researchers to explore and identify (a) the details of such risk factors and (b) genetic susceptibility involved in OSCC. Human genome epidemiology is a new branch of epidemiology, which leads the epidemiology study from the molecular epidemiology era into the era of genome-wide association study. In the era of precision medicine, molecular epidemiology studies should focus on biomarkers for cancer genomics and their potential utility in clinical practice. Here, we briefly reviewed several molecular epidemiology studies of OSCC, focusing on biomarkers as valuable utility in risk assessment, clinical screening, diagnosis, and prognosis prediction of OSCC in the era of precision medicine.

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