Background: Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most common form of oral cancer, in this study, the association between OSCC and oral yeast carriage was investigated. Findings: 20 patients having OSCC as well as 40 healthy controls were tested for the presence of yeasts in the oral cavity. Fungal burdens were examined by colony forming unit determinations, while the different yeast genera in patient samples were identified by matrix-associated laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry. We found that the level of oral yeast carriage was significantly higher in patients with OSCC that was accompanied by a higher diversity of yeasts in the oral cavity of these patients. We also examined the extracellular enzyme production of isolated Candida spp.; however, we found that there was no association between the lipase/protease producing capacity of Candida strains and the higher colonisation rate of neoplastic epithelium. Conclusions: In conclusion, our results corroborate the findings of previous studies regarding the association between oral yeast carriage and epithelial carcinoma.
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