UC researcher studies cancer-detecting mouthwash with help from ACS grant

UC Health News

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) are investigating
whether certain molecular markers that can be collected from simple mouthwash samples
can help in identifying throat and mouth cancers.

Scott Langevin, PhD, assistant professor in the Department
of Environmental Health and a member of both the Cincinnati Cancer Center (CCC)
and UC Cancer Institute, was recently awarded $782,000 from the American Cancer
Society to continue his research which will hopefully assist in use of a
certain oral rinse to catch recurrence of these types of cancers in their
earliest stages.

He originally received a National Cancer Institute K22 award
to begin this study.

“In 2017, mouth and throat cancer, otherwise known as oral
and pharyngeal cancer, accounted for an estimated 49,670 new cancer diagnoses
and 9,700 cancer-related deaths in the U.S., and the outcomes for patients with
this cancer is relatively poor. About half of these patients will have cancer
recurrence within two years of treatment,” Langevin says. “Earlier detection of
recurrent tumors is associated with better clinical outcomes, so there is a
clear need for new tests that can help facilitate early detection.”

Langevin says that researchers in his lab previously identified
a biomarker panel made up of 22 regions of DNA; based on the amount of a certain
molecule attached to these regions—a process called DNA methylation—scientists could
identify the presence of mouth and throat cancer with a high level of accuracy
by using non-invasive oral rinse (mouthwash) samples.

“With this project, we hope to evaluate the potential of this
oral rinse methylation panel as a clinical tool for early detection of cancer recurrence
following diagnosis and treatment,” he says. “This will hopefully help us
develop a new test that can reduce the impact of these cancers.”

Langevin adds that his team will take a deep look into
methylation within the tumors themselves to enhance understanding of the
prevalence and …

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