Background: Oral submucous fibrosis is an oral potentially malignant disorder with high incidence of malignant transformation and rising global prevalence. However, the genesis of oral submucous fibrosis is still unclear despite superfluity of literature. In the background of ineffective treatment, it is necessary to decode its onset and progression before designing customized treatment regimens.
Objective: The objective of this article is to decipher the pathogenesis of oral submucous fibrosis in order to identify novel drug targets.
Methods: A thorough literature review based on oral submucous fibrosis being an overhealing wound was conducted; several related patents were identified and herewith reviewed. Necessary pathways were elaborated and deliberated in the manuscript in the form of schemas, keeping our hypothesis in mind. Several novel molecular targets were identified and discussed in detail.
Results: Several patents demonstrating inhibition of fibrosis via chemokine ligand mimetics, anticonnexon antibodies, stem cell therapy, fibronectin blocking peptides, HIF inhibitors, recombinant erythropoietin, xanthine oxidase inhibitors, long non-coding RNAs, targeting inflammation, increasing TH-1/TH-2 cytokine ratio, t-box protein 4, chromium containing compositions, Iron-based nanocomposites, Lactate Dehydrogenase-5 inhibitors, Carbonic Anhdrase-9 inhibitors, proton pump inhibitors, liposomal encapsulated glutathione, monocarboxylate-4 inhibitors, autophagy inhibitors, Submucosal anti-IL-6 antibodies, fibrin degradation products for monitoring of malignancy and fibrosis, small molecule antagonists like vorapaxar, tiplaxtinin, and TM-5275, TGF-β signalling inhibitors were identified as future therapeutic avenues.
Conclusion: Considering, oral submucous fibrosis as an overhealing wound explains both pathogenesis and malignant transformation. Certainly, abnormalities in coagulation and fibrinolytic system are a common denominator in the profibrotic milieu and associated malignancy.