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Mol Carcinog. 2005 Oct;44(2):77-82.

The feasibility of monitoring NF-kappaB associated cytokines: TNF-alpha, IL-1alpha, IL-6, and IL-8 in whole saliva for the malignant transformation of oral lichen planus.

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Division of Oral Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, 7-536 Moos Tower, 515 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Previous investigations have demonstrated that immune activation and chronic inflammation may be one of the causes of oncogenesis. A previous study from our lab has shown significant increases of NF-kappaB dependent cytokines, TNF-alpha, IL-1alpha, IL-6, and IL-8 in different oral fluids from oral lichen planus (OLP) patients. The aim of this analysis was to explore the potential of detecting these cytokines in whole unstimulated saliva (WUS) in monitoring the malignant transformation of OLP. Thirteen patients with OLP (with epithelial dysplasia), 13 cases with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), and 13 age-sex matched controls were enrolled in the study. The WUS samples were collected and the level of TNF-alpha, IL-1alpha, IL-6, and IL-8 in WUS was determined by ELISA. In moderate and severe dysplasia, the level of each cytokine was significantly higher than in control. In moderate dysplasia, TNF-alpha and IL-1alpha were significantly increased at a level without difference from OSCC, but IL-6 and IL-8 was detected at a concentration significantly lower than OSCC. In severe dysplasia, the level of TNF-alpha was also not significantly different from that of OSCC, and the level of IL-1alpha, IL-6, and IL-8 was still significantly lower than that of OSCC. The level of four cytokines between smokers and non-smokers in each group did not show a significant difference. These results indicate that the change of NF-kappaB dependent cytokines in WUS may in part reflect the malignant transformation of OLP and the analysis of these cytokines and may provide a useful, non-invasive surrogate endpoint for monitoring malignant transformation as well as the therapeutic response of OLP. This is the first in vivo study utilizing saliva to confirm preclinical data that NF-kappaB is upregulated in oral carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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