Male: female ratio of oral cancer cases (OC) is fairly high. Lower rate of female cases as compared with males suggests that some endocrine factors may play role in the development of tumors. The aim of the present study was to clarify the differences of risk factors for OC among male and female cases. In the Oral and Maxillofacial Department of Semmelweis University 2660 OC (2130 males and 530 females) patients were included into the study. Ratio of smoking, alcohol consumption, elevated serum glucose level and menopausal data of the female patients were registered. Concordant to the literary data, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption proved to be an important risk factor for OC both among male and female patients. However, moderate alcohol consumption was a weak risk factor among male and no risk factor among female cases. Elevated serum glucose level was not significant OC risk among male cases, but was a high risk factor among female patients, especially in gingival cancer cases. The female OC cases were near exclusively postmenopausal, and the term between the time of menopause and clinical OC diagnosis was fairly long (average: 17 year). These results suggest that estrogen-deficiency may play an important role in the initiation of OC. In the female OC cases menopause appeared in significantly younger age, and the rate of hysterectomy was also significantly higher as compared with the tumor-free control cases. These data also support the estrogen-deficiency theory of cancer initiation. In postmenopausal female patients both estrogen-deficiency and elevated fasting glucose proved to be risk factors for OC. These results reveal new aspects concerning the etiology of OC and give a possible explanation how smoking-associated tumors may develop even without smoking.
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