Fibrosis is a pathological state characterized by excessive deposition of the extracellular matrix components leading to impaired tissue function in the affected organ. It results in scarring of the affected tissue akin to an over-healing wound as a consequence of chronic inflammation and repair in response to injury. Persistent trauma of susceptible oral mucosa due to habitual chewing of betel quid resulting in zealous healing of the mucosal tissue is one plausible explanation for the onset of oral submucous fibrosis (OSF). The irreversibility and resistance of collagen to degradation and its high potential to undergo malignant change are a major reason for morbidity in OSF. Hence, early diagnosis and timely treatment are crucial to prevent the progression of OSF to malignancy. This review focuses on the mechanistic insight into the role of collagen cross-links in advancing fibrosis and possible therapeutic targets that bring about a reversal of fibrosis. These options may be beneficial if attempted as a specific therapeutic modality in OSF as is in organ fibrosis. The upregulation of lysyl oxidase and lysyl hydroxylase has been shown to exhibit the higher levels of the hydroxylysine aldehyde-derived cross-links in fibrosis and tumor stroma promoting the tumor cell survival, resistance, and invasion. The in silico analysis highlights the potential drugs that may target the genes regulating collagen crosslinking.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalJournal of Carcinogenesis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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