BACKGROUND: Recent studies reported a difference in the age distribution of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) between black and white South Africans with OSCC more prevalent in black patients under the age of 50 compared to whites. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Paraffin embedded blocks of OSCC were divided into two groups: one with a mean age of 56.2 years and the second group all younger than 40 years of age. A control group of 30 non-neoplastic intraoral lesions were selected. A standard PCR reaction was used to amplify the BAM H1 W-fragment of the EBV. RESULTS: EBV DNA was demonstrated in 11/45 (24%) cases from the first group and in 11/45 (24%) cases from the second group. EBV DNA was present in 11/30 (37%) cases from the control group. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that the prevalence of EBV in OSCC was not influenced by the age of the patient.
This article was co-written by Prof Janse van Rensburg and Prof Van Heerden before they joined the University of Pretoria.