New gene test 'could better detect oral cancer'

5 October 2012

Scientists based in London are confident they have created an innovative gene test that could more effectively detect signs of early-stage mouth cancer.

There were 6,236 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in the UK in 2009 alone, Cancer Research UK has found, highlighting the seriousness of the disease.

However, researchers based at Queen Mary, University of London, believe that a new examination may help to detect pre-cancerous cells in patients with benign-looking mouth lesions.

Research into the quantitative Malignancy Index Diagnostic System (qMIDS) test has already resulted in a cancer detection rate of 91-94 per cent, after more than 350 head and neck tissue specimens were studied from 299 participants.

Lead investigator Dr Muy-Teck Teh, from the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary, commented: "A sensitive test capable of quantifying a patient's cancer risk is needed to avoid the adoption of a 'wait-and-see' intervention.

"Detecting cancer early, coupled with appropriate treatment can significantly improve patient outcomes, reduce mortality and alleviate long-term public healthcare costs."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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