Could recurrent aphthous stomatitis be linked to cancer development?

Emily Norton


Background: Recurrent aphthous stomatitis is a common multifactorial oral mucosal disorder. Genetic and local factors causing RAS may contribute to the development of cancer. This study aims to explore this connection by examining a family with a history of RAS and ovarian cancer.  Case Description: The family described in the case exhibits a history of minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis. The severity of this condition increases with each generation. One member of the family has no history of RAS but was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Genetic testing for BRCA mutations was negative indicating a different genetic cause of the cancer. All affected members of the family indicate high levels of stress or difficulty responding to stressful situations. No treatment for RAS was performed due to its self-limiting nature.  Practical Implications: Further research is needed before dentists begin to tell their patients with RAS they may be at higher risk of developing cancer. Diligent oral cancer screening and stress management counseling can decrease the risk to the patient.


recurrent aphthous stomatitis; cancer; TNF-alpha

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