Oral cancer: clinical features

Oral Oncol. 2010 Jun;46(6):414-7. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2010.03.009. Epub 2010 Apr 18.


Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a well-known malignancy that accounts for more than 90% of all oral cancers. In this article we will perform a brief review of its clinical characteristics and the differential diagnosis. Regarding symptoms, pain is the most frequent presentation and the tongue and the floor of the mouth have the highest occurrence. OSCC in its initial stages shows an erytholeukoplastic area without symptoms but in advanced stages there are ulcers and lumps with irregular margins which are rigid to touch. The different diagnosis should be established with other oral malignant diseases such as lymphomas, sarcomas and metastasis, which have rapid growth rates as opposed to the typical OSCC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / complications
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Mouth Neoplasms / complications
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pain / etiology
  • Risk Factors