Magazine article USA TODAY

Testing Possible in Dentist's Office

Magazine article USA TODAY

Testing Possible in Dentist's Office

Article excerpt

A novel test for lung cancer uses inner cheek cells to identify the disease in high-risk patients. Scientists have discovered that buccal mucosa, or cells scraped from the inner part of the cheek, may contain information that separates patients with lung cancer from high-risk negatives, a finding that may support cheek cell analysis as a simple and inexpensive early screening method for patients at risk for lung cancer.

"Previous research has shown that cell nuclear changes can extend a significant distance from the site of a malignancy. We have already conducted a successful clinical trial for our sputum test for lung cancer. New data suggest that the effects of lung cancer can also be measured as far away as skin cells in the mouth," explains lead researcher Bojana Turic, director of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, Perceptronix, Inc., Vancouver, Canada. "Although a clinical test based on buccal cells is still in development, the method of analyzing cheek cells to detect cancer is showing interesting results."

Turic and colleagues analyzed randomized cheek scrapings of 150 confirmed lung cancer patients and 990 high-risk patients using Automated Quantitative Cytometry (AQC). Able to detect even subtle changes in buccal cell nuclei, the AQC system analyzes several thousand cells per specimen and reduces the data to a single score that predicts the likelihood of the presence of cancer. …

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