The concept of “field cancerization” describes the presence of histological abnormal tissue surrounding oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Molecular model of multistep carcinogenesis indicates that an accumulation of genetic alterations forms the basis for the OSCC progression with genetic heterogeneity. Furthermore, we reviewed cancer stem cell (CSC) model, which suggests functional heterogeneity in the tumor mass and current supporting evidence in OSCC. According to CSC model, prevention from carcinogen exposure and eliminating the particular CSCs instead of targeting tumor mass could help obtain a more long-lasting therapeutic effect.
Keywords: Cancer stem cell, oral squamous cell carcinoma, heterogeneity
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