A Candid Assessment of the Link between Oral Candida Containing Biofilms and Oral Cancer

J. Kang, Y. He, D. Hetzl, H. Q. Jiang, M. K. Jun, M. S. Jun, M. Khng, N. Cirillo, M. J. McCullough*

Melbourne Dental School, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.

An association between Candida and oral cancer has long been discussed in the literature and in particular Candida albicans has been proposed to play a significant role in the development of oral cancer. Although this organism is a common member of the oral mucosa and can cause a variety of oral mucosal lesions, the exact mechanisms by which C. albicans potentially causes the development of malignant disease still require much research. We have undertaken an extensive literature search to understand pathogenicity of C. albicans, including its virulence factors, its interactions with the host immune, how a dysregulation of the immune response can result in malignancy, and how a potential C. albicans specific cytokine response may be involved in oral carcinogenesis. We present here a candid assessment of the role of Candida in oral carcinogenesis and a hypothetical model about how this may occur. Finally, we present potential future research which is necessary to elucidate.


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