The purpose of this study is to determine the possible etiological factors of oral
squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) in North-Eastern Hungary. The medical records of 119
randomly selected patients with OSCC admitted to the Department of Maxillofacial Surgery
of the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Debrecen were reviewed. The following risk
factors were investigated: tobacco and alcohol consumption, dental status, rural vs.
urban residence, and high risk HPV infection. The presence of HPV DNA has been evaluated
by polymerase chain reaction from the tissue samples. Results were correlated with
clinical data. At the time of diagnosis 65.5 percent of the patients were smokers.
Under the age of 45 the rate was 86.4%. Smoking significantly correlated with younger
age, male gender, advanced clinical stages and alcohol consumption. The majority of
the patients (75.5%) consumed alcohol, 41.1% regularly over the acceptable range.
Drinking habit significantly correlated with younger age, male gender and tumor site
(gingiva, retromolar region, tongue). HR-HPV types were detected in 42.8% of samples
tested. HPV DNA presence was not related to gender, clinical stage, histological grade
or other risk factors. Authors found weak correlation between HR-HPV positivity, younger
patient age and better 5-year survival rate. The dental status was acceptable only
in 12.6 percent of the cases. There was a correlation between dental status and age,
smoking and drinking habits. No significant urban-rural differences were found. In
the study population the most important risk factor for developing oral cancer is
tobacco smoking followed by alcohol consumption. Avoidance of tobacco smoking and
a reduced amount of alcohol, together with healthy nutrition and regular dental care
should be emphasized.