Getting it Right the First Time

Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma accurately diagnosed with combination of assays

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Oral cancers are on the rise, and yet accurately diagnosing the disease remains somewhat problematic. Researchers have found that two existing tests can be used to diagnose a particular type of this cancer.

A new study out of Great Britain finds that oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) - a form of head and neck cancer that's derived from the human papilloma virus (HPV16) can be detected using a combination of two tests. These are the P16 immunohistochemistry and DNA qPCR which tests for viral E6

"Ask your doctor about testing you for oral cancer."

Lead researcher Andrew Schache, D.D.S., M.D., research fellow and surgeon at the University of Liverpool, says the recent attention on oral cancers has produced a number of diagnostic tests. However, the evaluation of the accuracy of these tests, Dr. Schache says, has not kept pace.

For this study, researchers examined eight possible combinations of existing diagnostic tests on 108 cases of HPV16-derived OSCC.

Dr. Schache says he and his team used viral gene expression as the standard means of determining presence of cancer.

After evaluating all of the tests, scientists discovered that a combination of DNA qPCR and P16 were the most accurate at determining both positive and negative results.

Authors noted that the assays are readily available commercially.

Dr. Schache concludes that getting this diagnosis right the first time is important so the patient can receive the most appropriate level of treatment at the appropriate time.

This study was published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 11, 2011
Last Updated:
November 11, 2011