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News Americas

Oral cancer is usually diagnosed at a very late stage. (Photograph: designer491/Shutterstock)
0 Comments Jan 26, 2016 | News Americas

Fluorescence visualization could improve oral cancer recurrence rates

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VANCOUVER, Canada: The prognosis for oral cancer has not improved over the past five decades, mainly owing to the late stage at diagnosis, high rates of recurrence after surgery and the difficulty in capturing all of the cancer at treatment. Researchers have now assessed the efficacy of fluorescence visualization (FV) and found that this technology, which could easily be implemented in clinical settings, facilitated detection and thus helped reduce the recurrence rate in oral cancer patients significantly.

In the study, 138 male and 108 female patients aged 18 and over, of whom 156 had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and 90 had high-grade precancerous lesions (HGLs), were divided into two groups. One group (154 patients) underwent surgery with FV, while participants in the control group (92 patients) underwent conventional surgery.

The researchers found that patients who had undergone FV-guided surgery showed significantly lower local recurrence. In patients with SCC, the recurrence rate decreased from 40.6 percent to 6.5 percent. Among HGL patients, the recurrence rate decreased from 39.3 percent to 8.1 percent.

“This study’s results support the use of FV as the strongest single independent factor in the control of local recurrence and provide a possible effective modality to control early-stage oral cancer and high-grade preinvasive oral lesions,” the researchers concluded.

To detect oral lesions, the team used a VELscope, a handheld device, developed by U.S. company LED Dental, that helps dentists visualize oral tissue abnormalities. It received FDA and Health Canada clearance in 2006.

According to the 2015 statistics provided by the Canadian Cancer Society, about 4,400 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cavity cancer every year, half of whom are men, and about 1,200 die from the disease.

The study, titled “Fluorescence visualization–guided surgery for early-stage oral cancer,” was published online on Jan. 14 in the JAMA Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery journal ahead of print. It was conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia in collaboration with the BC Cancer Research Centre and Simon Fraser University.

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