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Volume 38 , Issue 2
March/April 2018

Pages 253259

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Gingiva Mimicking Periodontal Disease: A Diagnostic Challenge and Therapeutic Dilemma

Michael M. Bornstein, Prof Dr Med Dent/Claude Andreoni, Dr Med Dent/Thomas Meier, Dr Med Dent/Yiu Yan Leung, BDS, MDS, PhD

PMID: 29447319
DOI: 10.11607/prd.3253

A case of squamous cell carcinoma of the gingiva (GSCC) in the left anterior maxilla in a 64-year-old woman that was treated for almost 5 years as suspected periodontal lesion prior to establishing the final diagnosis of oral cancer is presented in this case report. GSCCs have a variable clinical appearance, ranging from an exophytic mass to ulcerative lesions. They have been reported to pose a diagnostic challenge and are not infrequently initially misdiagnosed as periodontal disease. A delay in diagnosis and extraction of teeth in the vicinity of GSCCs has been demonstrated to increase the risk for lymph node metastasis and thus result in a lower 5-year survival rate. To avoid misdiagnosis and delay of the appropriate treatment, a proper histopathologic evaluation is mandatory whenever an incisional biopsy is performed. Furthermore, referral to a specialist in oral medicine or oral and maxillofacial surgery is indicated when a gingival lesion is nonresponsive to treatment, recurring, or rapidly growing in size.

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