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Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2006 Apr;35(4):362-5. Epub 2005 Nov 18.

Detection of p16 promoter methylation in the serum of oral cancer patients.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Ehime University School of Medicine, Ehime, Japan.


P16 promoter methylation occurs frequently in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). For the early detection of tumour-related aberrant DNA, we examined p16 methylation using the methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) in tumour and serum samples of 17 OSCC patients. Aberrant p16 methylation was detected in 11 (64.7%) cases of primary OSCC. Of these 11 patients, 6 (54.5%) showed the same alteration in their serum. No methylation was found in control groups. Interestingly, DNA was detected in the serum of 3 out of 4 patients with recurrence. These results suggest that the MSP may be a sensitive and useful method for detecting recurrent OSCC.

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