Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the sixth most common cancer. The local recurrence of OSSC might result from the existence of occult cancer cells around tumour margins. Exfoliative cytology has lately gained great importance as a method for obtaining RNA samples from suspicious oral mucosal lesions in order to carry out molecular diagnosis. In addition, melanoma associated-A antigens (MAGE-A) are expressed in various tumours and their detection is a highly accurate sign that cancer cells are present.
The prediction of a recurrence using MAGE-A mRNA expression analysis to follow-up OSCC cases using a newly established molecular diagnostic technique applied to cytological materials.
RNA was extracted from three recurrent OSCC cases and from 20 healthy volunteers as a control group using a cytobrush. The expression of MAGE-A3, A4, A6, A10 and A12 was investigated in these specimens using quantitative real-time (RT-PCR).
There was no expression of MAGE-A in the specimens of normal oral mucosa. However, the expression analysis of five different MAGE-A genes indicated a high potential for malignant change in biopsy-proven recurrent OSCC cases. Except for MAGE-A10, the rest of the genes were expressed in different ratios by the three recurrent cases, which had been determined on histopathology to be OSCC or carcinoma in situ.
It is suggested that analysis of MAGE-A expression may be used as a risk prediction method in the diagnosis of recurrence after wide excision of OSCC to enhance the accuracy of exfoliative cytology, which has limitations due to false negative and false positive results.