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Proteomics Clin Appl. 2007 May;1(5):486-93. doi: 10.1002/prca.200600669. Epub 2007 Apr 4.

Protein profiling of oral brush biopsies: S100A8 and S100A9 can differentiate between normal, premalignant, and tumor cells.

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  • 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


In oral mucosa lesions it is frequently difficult to differentiate between precursor lesions and already manifest oral squamous cell carcinoma. Therefore, multiple scalpel biopsies are necessary to detect tumor cells already in early stages and to guarantee an accurate follow-up. We analyzed oral brush biopsies (n = 49) of normal mucosa, inflammatory and hyperproliferative lesions, and oral squamous cell carcinoma with ProteinChip Arrays (SELDI) as a non-invasive method to characterize putative tumor cells. Three proteins were found that differentiated between these three stages. These three proteins are able to distinguish between normal cells and tumor cells with a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 91% and can distinguish inflammatory/hyperproliferative lesions from tumor cells with a sensitivity of up to 91% and specificity of up to 90%. Two of these proteins have been identified by immunodepletion as S100A8 and S100A9 and this identification was confirmed by immunocytochemistry. For the first time, brush biopsies have been successfully used for proteomic biomarker discovery. The identified protein markers are highly specific for the distinction of the three analyzed stages and therewith reflect the progression from normal to premalignant non-dysplastic and finally to tumor tissue. This knowledge could be used as a first diagnostic step in the monitoring of mucosal lesions.

Copyright © 2007 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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