Oral squamous cell carcinomas represent a significant cancer burden worldwide. Unfortunately, chemoprevention strategies investigated to date have failed to produce an agent considered standard of care to prevent oral cancers. Nonetheless, recent advances in clinical trial design may streamline drug development in this setting. In this manuscript, we review some of these improvements, including risk prediction tools based on molecular markers that help select patients most suitable for chemoprevention. We also discuss the opportunities that novel preclinical models and modern molecular profiling techniques will bring to the prevention field in the near future, and propose a clinical trials framework that incorporates molecular prognostic factors, predictive markers and cancer biology as a roadmap to improve chemoprevention strategies for oral cancers.
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