OBJECTIVES: Oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the 10th most common cancer in the United States (8th in males, 13th in females), with an estimated 54,010 new cases expected in 2021, and is primarily associated with smoked tobacco, heavy alcohol consumption, areca nut use and persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV). Family history of cancer (FHC) and family history of head and neck cancer (FHHNC) have been reported to play an important role in the development of OSCC. We aimed to investigate the role of FHC, FHHNC and personal history of cancer in first/second degree-relatives as co-risk factors for oral cancer.
METHODS: This was a retrospective study of patients diagnosed with OSCC at the Division of Oral Medicine and Dentistry at Brigham and Women's Hospital and at the Division of Head and Neck Oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Conditional logistic regressions were performed to examine whether OSCC was associated with FHC and FHHNC of FDRs and SDRs, personal history of cancer and secondary risk factors.
RESULTS: Overall, we did not find an association between FHC, FHHNC and OSCC risk, whereas patients with a cancer history in one of their siblings were 1.6-times more likely to present with an OSCC. When secondary risk factors were considered, patients with a history of oral leukoplakia and dysplasia had a 16-times higher risk of having an OSCC.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirmed that a previous history of oral leukoplakia or dysplasia was an independent risk factor for OSCC. A positive family history of cancer in one or more siblings may be an additional risk factor for OSCC.