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This article is the author’s final published version in Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP, Volume 24, May 2023, Issue 5, Pages 1711 - 1715

The published version is available at Copyright © Nerli et al.


Introduction: Oral cancer is a major health problem. The study of exfoliative cytology material helps in the differentiation of premalignant and malignant alterations of oral lesions. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of detecting oral cancer by targeting genomic VPAC (combined vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide) receptors expressed on malignant oral cancer cells.

Patients & methods: All patients with suspected oral cavity cancers/lesions formed the study group. The samples from the oral cavity lesion or suspicious area were collected with a cytology brush. The harvested material was examined for malignant cells by 1. the standard PAP stain and 2. targeting the VPAC receptors on the cell surface using a fluorescent microscope. Similarly, malignant cells were identified from cells shed in oral gargles.

Results: A total of 60 patients with oral lesions were included in the study. The histopathological diagnosis was squamous cell carcinoma in 30 of these. The VPAC receptor positivity both on the brush cytology staining as well oral gargle staining was more sensitive than the brush cytology PAP staining. The accuracy of the various techniques was as follows, brush cytology PAP staining at 86.67%, brush cytology VPAC staining at 91.67% and oral gargle VPAC staining at 95%.

Conclusions: This preliminary study validates our belief that malignant cells in the saliva can be identified by targeting the VPAC receptors. The test is simple, easy, non-invasive and reliable in the detection of oral cancers.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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