Orofacial cleft (OFC) anomalies are amongst the most common congenital anomalies and the most common craniofacial anomalies. Despite their poorly characterized etiologies, cases of OFC are usually grouped by epidemiological studies as cleft lip, with or without cleft palate (CL/P), and cleft palate alone (CPO). Incidence of CL/P and CPO differs according to gender and ancestry and may vary widely across studies. Cases of OFC are characterized as either “syndromic” or “nonsyndromic,” with further classification of nonsyndromic cases into isolated cases and cases that present with additional malformations. The genetic bases for many syndromic cases of OFC have been previously elucidated. Genetic associations have been described for nonsyndromic OFC as well. Importantly, etiology of OFC is known to involve interaction between genetic and environmental factors, including maternal nutrition and exposure to teratogenic agents. Furthermore, evidence points toward epigenetic as well as genetic factors influencing OFC etiology. Recent studies have begun to explore the association between CL/P and cancer. These studies report higher incidence of cancer among patients with CL/P and their family members as well as identification of common genetic markers mediating this increased risk, although much remains unknown about this link.
Part of the book: Designing Strategies for Cleft Lip and Palate Care