Evidence-based clinical recommendations regarding screening for oral squamous cell carcinomas

Michael P. Rethman, William Carpenter, Ezra E.W. Cohen, Joel Epstein, Caswell A. Evans, Catherine M. Flalfz, Frank J. Graham, Philippe P. Hujoel, John R. Kalmar, Wayne M. Koch, Paul M. Lambert, Mark W. Lingen, Bert W. Oettmeier, Lauren L. Patton, David Perkins, Britt C. Reid, James J. Sclubba, Scott L. Tomar, Alfred D. Wyatt, Krishna AravamudhanJulie Frantsve-Hawley, Jennifer L. Cleveland, Daniel M. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


Background. This article presents evidencebased clinical recommendations developed by a panel convened by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. This report addresses the potential benefits and potential risks of screening for oral squamous cell carcinomas and the use of adjunctive screening aids to visualize and detect potentially malignant and malignant oral lesions. Types of Studies Reviewed. The panel members conducted a systematic search of MEDLINE, identifying 332 systematic reviews and 1,499 recent clinical studies. They selected five systematic reviews and four clinical studies to use as a basis for developing recommendations. Results. The panel concluded that screening by means of visual and tactile examination to detect potentially malignant and malignant lesions may result in detection of oral cancers at early stages of development, but that there is insufficient evidence to determine if screening alters disease-specific mortality in asymptomatic people seeking dental care. Clinical Implications. The panel suggested that clinicians remain alert for signs of potentially malignant lesions or early-stage cancers while performing routine visual and tactile examinations in all patients, but particularly in those who use tobacco or who consume alcohol heavily. Additional research regarding oral cancer screening and the use of adjuncts is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-520
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • American dental association (ADA)
  • Biopsy
  • Brush
  • Cancer
  • Carcinoma
  • Evidence-based dentistry
  • Mouth neoplasms
  • Oral cancer
  • Practice guidelines
  • Squamous cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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