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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 35-41

Candida species detection in potentially malignant and malignant disorders of the oral mucosa: A meta-analysis


Department of Oral Medicine. Faculty of Dentistry, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Date of Web Publication3-Aug-2018

Correspondence Address:
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jdrr.jdrr_27_18

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  Abstract 


Background: Candida species, mainly Candida albicans, have been related to dysplastic changes and malignant transformation of different oral mucosal lesions. Objective: The objective was to assess the possible influence of Candida detection in oral leukoplakia (OL), oral lichen planus (OLP), and oral cancerous lesions. Search Methods: A PubMed search through February 2018, using the following MESH terms, was performed: “Candida,” “precancerous conditions,” “mouth,” and “mouth neoplasms.” Selection Criteria: The selection criteria included studies with findings on Candida detection in premalignant and malignant oral lesions. Data Collection and Analysis: For continuous outcomes, the estimates of effects of an intervention were expressed as mean differences using the inverse variance method and for dichotomous outcomes, the estimates of effects of an intervention were expressed as odds ratios using Haenszel—Mantel method, both with 95% confidence intervals. Results: Fifteen studies on Candida detection in premalignant and malignant oral lesions were included in this meta-analysis. Nearly 61.5% of oral cancers, 32.2% of OLs, and 29.1% of OLP lesions were infected by Candida species. Candida infection does not increase the risk for developing OL (P = 0.32) or OLP (P = 0.31). A higher mean age, male gender, tobacco consumption, and location of the lesions on tongue or floor of the mouth were factors that did not have a significant influence on developing Candida-infected OL. Dysplastic OLs were 10.62 times more likely to be Candida-infected lesions. A greater number of OL lesions infected by Candida species than OLP lesions were found (P < 0.01). Having oral cancer increased 4.92-fold risk of Candida infection. No statistically significant association between Candida-infected oral cancer lesions and Candida-infected OL lesions was observed (P = 0.21). Conclusions: Candida infection worsens the biological behavior of potentially malignant and malignant lesions of the oral cavity.

Keywords: Candida, mouth neoplasms, oral leukoplakia, oral lichen planus


How to cite this article:
Rodriguez-Archilla A, Alcaide-Salamanca MJ. Candida species detection in potentially malignant and malignant disorders of the oral mucosa: A meta-analysis. J Dent Res Rev 2018;5:35-41

How to cite this URL:
Rodriguez-Archilla A, Alcaide-Salamanca MJ. Candida species detection in potentially malignant and malignant disorders of the oral mucosa: A meta-analysis. J Dent Res Rev [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 16];5:35-41. Available from: http://www.jdrr.org/text.asp?2018/5/2/35/238535




  Introduction Top


Although the possible association of Candida species with oral precancer and cancer has been widely studied, the real role of these fungi in developing these lesions has not yet been established.[1]

In the case of oral leukoplakia (OL), there is some controversy over whether Candida species are actually involved in its development and/or malignant transformation or they are just a coincident finding in OLs. However, Candida-infected OLs have a malignant transformation risk between 9% and 40%, while in noninfected OLs, this risk is lower (2%—6%).[2]

The joint action of several factors such as tobacco consumption for breakdown of epithelial integrity causes the activation of certain biotypes of Candida with a great capacity to produce nitrosamines, such as N-nitrosobenzylmethylamine, which can induce dysplastic changes in the oral epithelium and a greater likelihood of malignant transformation. Candida species are also capable of producing other substances that can contribute to oral carcinogenesis process such as acetaldehyde, proteinases, or certain pro-inflammatory mediators.[3]

According to the evidence available, Candida species, especially Candida albicans, might have an indirect etiological role in oral cancer always coupled with other etiological factors. The ability of Candida species to directly produce a carcinoma without the participation of other etiological factors is currently unrealistic.[4] The purpose of this study was to assess the role of Candida species detection in the biological behavior of the potentially malignant and malignant disorders of the oral mucosa.


  Methods Top


A PubMed search of studies on Candida species detection related to premalignant and malignant oral lesions to February 2018 was conducted. Search strategies included the combination of the following terms from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): “Candida”(MeSH terms) AND (“precancerous conditions”[MeSH Terms] AND “mouth”[MeSH Terms]) OR “mouth neoplasms”[MeSH Terms]).

The inclusion criteria were all types of studies with results, except clinical cases; studies performed in populations not affected by certain systemic diseases or conditions (HIV infection, blood dyscrasias, diabetes, etc.); and studies with full-text availability. Exclusion criteria were studies with irrelevant or no usable data and studies with important biases.

After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, a total of 15 studies were included in this meta-analysis [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Study flow diagram

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Statistical analysis

For the meta-analysis, the data were processed with the statistical software RevMan 5.3 (The Cochrane Collaboration, Oxford, UK). For the continuous variables, the inverse of the variance was used for the mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). For the dichotomous variables, the odds ratio (OR) was used with the Haenszel—Mantel Chi-square formula with 95% CI. Heterogeneity was determined according to the P values and the Higgins statistic (I2). In cases of high heterogeneity, the random effects model was applied. The significance level was set at P < 0.05.


  Results Top


[Table 1] summarizes the descriptive characteristics of the 15 included studies in the meta-analysis.
Table 1: Descriptive characteristics of included studies

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Nine studies[6],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[19] assessed Candida species detection in OL lesions. Candida species were found in 347 (32.2%) out of 1078 OLs.

Three studies[14],[15],[6] analyzed Candida species detection in patients with OL and in controls without this lesion [Figure 2]. Candida infection does not increase the risk for developing OL, without statistically significant association (OR: 8.20 (95% CI: 0.13, 531.81), P = 0.32).
Figure 2: Study data and forest plot graph for Candida detection in oral leukoplakia patients and controls without this lesion

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The possible influence of other factors related to Candida-infected OLs was also considered [Table 2]. A higher mean age, male gender, tobacco consumption, and location of the lesions on tongue or floor of the mouth were factors that did not have a significant influence on developing Candida-infected OLs. In contrast, Candida-infected OLs were 10.62 times more likely to be dysplastic lesions, with statistically significant differences (P < 0.001).
Table 2: Other factors related to Candida-infected oral leukoplakias

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Six studies[6],[7],[8],[11],[12],[14] investigated Candida species detection in oral lichen planus (OLP) lesions. Candida species were found in 127 (29.1%) out of 437 OLP patients.

Four studies[6],[7],[8],[10] assessed Candida species detection both in patients with OLP and a control group without these lesions [Figure 3]. Candida detection was greater in patients with OLP, although no statistically significant association was found (OR: 1.79 [95% CI: 0.58, 5.55], P = 0.31).
Figure 3: Study data and forest plot graph for Candida detection in oral lichen planus patients and controls without this lesion

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Another four studies[6],[10],[11],[12] evaluated Candida detection in patients with OLP compared to patients with OL [Figure 4]. There was a greater number of OL lesions infected by Candida than OLP lesions with statistically significant differences (OR: 2.22 [95% CI: 1.35, 3.66], P < 0.01).
Figure 4: Study data and forest plot graph for Candida detection in oral leukoplakia patients compared to oral lichen planus patients

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Five studies[5],[6],[16],[17],[18] considered Candida species detection in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) lesions. Candida species were found in 182 (61.5%) out of 299 OSCC patients. These same five studies[5],[6],[16],[17],[18] analyzed Candida detection in patients with OSCC and in a control group [Figure 5]. Candida infection was 4.92-fold more frequent in OSCC patients in comparison with controls. Statistical analysis showed highly significant differences (OR: 4.92 [95% CI: 1.98, 12.26], P < 0.001).
Figure 5: Study data and forest plot graph for Candida detection in oral squamous cell carcinoma patients and controls without oral cancer

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Finally, three studies[11],[12],[6] assessed the detection of Candida species in OSCC patients compared to OL patients. Although a higher percentage of positive Candida cases was found in patients with oral cancer, no statistically significant association was observed (OR: 1.28 [95% CI: 0.87, 1.88], P = 0.21).


  Discussion Top


In the present meta-analysis on the role of Candida species detection in potentially malignant and malignant disorders of the oral mucosa, data from 14 studies have been included.

Comparing Candida species detection both in patients with OL and controls, no statistically significant differences were observed. In two studies,[6],[15] significantly higher percentages of patients with OL and positive Candida cultures than controls without this lesion were found.

However, one of these studies[15] had twice as many patients with OL than controls, whereas in the other one,[6] the population distribution by gender was very unequal. These imbalances in the populations studied have been able to affect the results. In contrast, Artico et al.[14] observed a higher prevalence of positive Candida cultures in the control group compared to OL patients. In this study, the characteristics of the two population groups were very similar and homogeneous. The presence of oral lesions did not increase the susceptibility to infection by Candida species.[14]

In an attempt to establish the possible influence of Candida infection on the biological behavior of OLs, several factors such as age, gender, tobacco consumption, and the location of the lesion or the presence of epithelial dysplasia were investigated. None of them had significant influence except epithelial dysplasia that is quite more frequent in Candida-infected oral leukoplakias. Three studies[10],[15],[13] are consistent with our results, indicating that Candida infection is closely related to dysplastic leukoplakias that also present a high risk of malignant transformation. Candida invasion may lead to epithelial dysplasia in OL. When it infects a lesion, Candida releases substances, enzymes, and cytokines that may induce keratinolysis and increase chorionic inflammation, altering both the epithelial cells and the epithelial architecture, producing the dysplastic changes. It would be interesting to know if the resolution of Candida infection might reverse these dysplastic changes in a long-term follow-up of the lesions.[20]

Although in our study, there was a greater number of patients with OLP than controls with positive Candida culture, the results did not reach statistical significance. In fact, three studies[6],[7],[8] were in agreement with our results, while, Artico et al.[14] isolated Candida species in 56% of controls without oral lesions, in 29% of patients with OLP, and in 25% of patients with other oral lesions. There was a statistically significant association between positive Candida culture in patients without oral lesions compared to the OLP group (P = 0.03) and individuals with other oral lesions (P = 0.02). However, few studies have assessed the prevalence of oral colonization by Candida species in healthy controls and patients with oral lesions (mainly OL and OLP) which have proven that the presence of oral lesions by themselves does not rise the predisposition to colonization by Candida species.[7]

The possible role of Candida infection in potentially malignant lesions of the oral mucosa such as OL and OLP was also analyzed. Among the Candida-infected oral lesions, there was a greater number of OL patients than OLP patients with a statistically significant relationship (P < 0.01). Three studies[6],[11],[12] coincided with this result and only one[14] does not agree because a slightly higher frequency of Candida-infected OLP lesions (29%) compared to Candida-infected OL lesions (25%) was seen, although no statistical significance was found.

Regarding OSCC and Candida detection, we found no statistically significant association (P = 0.15). Five studies investigated the positive or negative Candida species culture in OSCC patients with oral cancer. Three of them[16],[17],[18] found significantly higher percentages of Candida-infected oral cancers, further evidencing that the genotypic diversity of the different C. albicans strains may play an important role in oral carcinogenesis.[18] However, the other two studies[5],[6] observed a greater number of oral cancer cases not infected by Candida species, without evidencing the possible causal relationship between Candida detection and tumoral progression. New studies are required in larger populations that may establish the true implication of these fungi in oral carcinogenesis.[6]

In this meta-analysis, Candida infection was 4.92 times more frequent in OSCC patients compared to healthy controls with statistically significant differences (P < 0.001). Five studies[6],[16],[17],[18],[5] that considered Candida infection both in OSCC patients and healthy controls support this finding. Having oral cancer predisposes to infection by Candida species.

Finally, when relating OSCC patients with OL patients, more OSCC patients than OL patients had Candida-infected lesions, although without statistically significant influence. Two studies[12],[6] coincided with our results and found more OSCC patients with Candida-infected lesions. In contrast, Gall et al.[11] found a slightly higher prevalence of Candida-infected lesions among OL patients, but no statistically significant association was observed. It should be considered that in this study there was a greater number of cases of premalignant lesions than cancer lesions. Moreover, these premalignant lesions showed high degrees of epithelial dysplasia, which gives them a biological behavior very close to that of neoplastic lesions. All studies point to a relevant role of Candida infection in the transformation and tumoral progression in potentially malignant and malignant lesions of the oral cavity.

All findings of this meta-analysis must be interpreted with caution due to the high heterogeneity of the studies included and the presence of different bias. The differences among studies could be conditioned by the study design, the methods used to collect data, the type of analysis used, the characteristics of the study populations, and samples or the duration of the studies.


  Conclusions Top


In this meta-analysis, 61.5% of OSCCs, 32.2% of OLs, and 29.1% of OLP were infected by Candida species. Dysplastic oral leukoplakias were 10.62 times more likely to be Candida-infected lesions, with a worse biological behavior. Oral cancer increased the risk of Candida infection by 4.92 folds. In contrast, OLP patients did not present a raised risk than controls for Candida infection.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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Scully C, el-Kabir M, Samaranayake LP. Candida and oral candidiasis: A review. Crit Rev Oral Biol Med 1994;5:125-57.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
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Hettmann A, Demcsák A, Decsi G, Bach Á, Pálinkó D, Rovó L, et al. Infectious agents associated with head and neck carcinomas. Adv Exp Med Biol 2016;897:63-80.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Nagy KN, Sonkodi I, Szöke I, Nagy E, Newman HN. The microflora associated with human oral carcinomas. Oral Oncol 1998;34:304-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Spolidorio LC, Martins VR, Nogueira RD, Spolidorio DM. Frequencia de Candida sp. em biopsias de lesoes da mucosa bucal. Pesqui Odontol Bras 2003;17:89-93.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Masaki M, Sato T, Sugawara Y, Sasano T, Takahashi N. Detection and identification of non-Candida albicans species in human oral lichen planus. Microbiol Immunol 2011;55:66-70.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Rehani S, Rao NN, Rao A, Carnelio S, Ramakrishnaiah SH, Prakash PY, et al. Spectrophotometric analysis of the expression of secreted aspartyl proteinases from Candida in leukoplakia and oral squamous cell carcinoma. J Oral Sci 2011;53:421-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Abdulrahim MH, McManus BA, Flint SR, Coleman DC. Genotyping Candida albicans from candida leukoplakia and non-candida leukoplakia shows no enrichment of multilocus sequence typing clades but enrichment of ABC genotype C in Candida leukoplakia. PLoS One 2013;8:e73738.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Gall F, Colella G, Di Onofrio V, Rossiello R, Angelillo IF, Liguori G, et al. Candida spp. in oral cancer and oral precancerous lesions. New Microbiol 2013;36:283-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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Hebbar PB, Pai A, Sujatha D. Mycological and histological associations of Candida in oral mucosal lesions. J Oral Sci 2013;55:157-60.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Wu L, Feng J, Shi L, Shen X, Liu W, Zhou Z, et al. Candidal infection in oral leukoplakia: A clinicopathologic study of 396 patients from Eastern China. Ann Diagn Pathol 2013;17:37-40.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Artico G, Freitas RS, Santos Filho AM, Benard G, Romiti R, Migliari DA, et al. Prevalence of Candida spp. xerostomia, and hyposalivation in oral lichen planus — A controlled study. Oral Dis 2014;20:e36-41.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Sarkar R, Rathod GP. Clinicopathologic assessment of Candida colonization of oral leukoplakia. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2014;80:413-8.  Back to cited text no. 15
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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]
 
 
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