Oral mucosal diseases and oral cancer

​​Description of research

The general aim of my research is to elucidate the pathogenesis of oral mucosal diseases and particularly oral cancer development. The specific aims include investigating systemic and local diseases, which increase the risk of oral cancer development and the role of viral infection and indigenous bacterial microbiota in oral disease. Understanding the pathogenesis behind these disease processes results in increased oral cancer awareness, oral cancer prevention possibilities and early oral cancer detection. The earlier oral cancer is detected, the better is the prognosis and the quality of life after treatment.

Research projects

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in the mouth and the interaction between HPV and bacterial microbiome
  • Potentially malignant lesions/conditions of oral mucosa (lichen planus, proliferative verrucous leukoplakia)
  • Crohn’s disease and oral diseases
  • Medication related osteonecrosis of the jaws​Heidi Ekholm, DDS, reg. doctoral candidate

Members of the research group

Jaana Hurnanen, DDS, reg. doctoral candidate
Mirjami Rintala, DDS, reg. doctoral candidate
Heidi Tuominen, DDS, reg. doctoral candidate

Selected publications

Turunen A, Rautava J, Grenman R, Syrjänen K, Syrjänen S. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded small RNAs (EBERs) associated with poor prognosis of head and neck carcinomas. Oncotarget 18(16):27328-38, 2017. IF 5.008

Lorenzi A, Rautava J, Kero K, Syrjänen K, Longatto-Filho A, Grenman S, Syrjänen S. Physical state and copy numbers of HPV16 in oral infections that persisted or cleared during the six-year follow-up. J Gen Virol 98(4):681-9, 2017 IF 3.183

Rautava J, Vong L, Assa A, Pinnell LJ, Sherman PM. Oral microbiome changes in mouse models of colitis. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 30(3):521-7, 2015. IF 3.627

Keskin M, Zeidan-Chulia F, Gursoy M, Könönen E, Rautava J, Gursoy UK. Two cheers for Crohn’s disease and periodontitis: beta-defensin-2 as an actionable target to intervene on two clinically distinct diseases. OMICS 19(8):443-50, 2015. IF 2.362

Rautava J, Kuuskoski J, Syrjänen K, Grenman R, Syrjänen S. HPV genotypes and their prognostic significance in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. J Clin Virol 53(2): 116-20, 2012. IF 3.287