About 20% of the world’s population uses some form of betel nut, which suggests that the incidence of oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) is higher than current estimates. OSF has the potential to undergo malignant transformation; thus, there is a need to identify relevant markers to assess its aggressiveness. We evaluated changes in COX-2, p53, and MDM2 expressions in progressive OSF. Expressions of COX-2, p53, and MDM2 increased with OSF progression. There was a strong association between COX-2 overexpression and recurrence of oral squamous cell carcinoma (P < 0.001) and a positive relation between increased MDM2 expression and failure of radiotherapy (P = 0.007). These findings suggest that COX-2 is an important marker of disease progression and that MDM2 expression is useful for treatment planning.
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