Integrins are a family of heterodimeric cell surface receptors, which are expressed on most cells where they mediate cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions. The alphavbeta6 integrin is epithelial-specific and binds to the ECM proteins fibronectin, vitronectin and tenascin, and also to the latency associated peptide of TGF-beta. Unlike most epithelial integrins, alphavbeta6 is not expressed constitutively by healthy oral epithelia, but is up-regulated during tissue remodelling, including that accompanying wound healing and carcinogenesis. Although, the data at present have been generated principally from in vitro studies, there is increasing evidence to suggest that alphavbeta6 may promote carcinoma progression: alphavbeta6 has been shown to modulate invasion, inhibit apoptosis, regulate protease expression and activate TGF-beta1. This review examines the current literature, and discusses the possible role of alphavbeta6 in wound healing, and in the development and progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma.