Oral cancers are common, with approximately 400,000 new cases and 200,000 deaths worldwide in 2013.
Approximately 42,000 new cases and almost 8,000 deaths from oral cancers were estimated to occur in the United States in 2012. More than 90 percent of these cases were oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). The overall five-year survival rate of OSCC patients is approximately 57 percent. The prognosis of OSCC patients is adversely influenced by cancer recurrence, which happens in 5 to 50 percent of patients.
Studies evaluating the efficacy of supercritical CO2 neem extract taken from the neem tree (Azadiracta indica) for prevention of oral cancer are under way.
Studies evaluating novel therapies co-targeting epigenetically regulated signaling pathways in oral cancer are being conducted by Dr. Cara Gonzales with Dr. Tim Huang and Dr. Nameer Kirma from the Department of Molecular Medicine.
The epidemiology of HPV associated oral cancer has been described in many U.S. regions, but not in South Texas. Dr. Spencer Redding and Stephanie Rowan lead studies to define the epidemiology here, particularly in the Hispanic population.