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Changes in Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Gene Copy Number during Oral Carcinogenesis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Timothy Bates, Dr Michaela Goodson, Professor Peter Thomson, Professor Philip Sloan, Dr Ralf KistORCiD, Dr Max RobinsonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Background: Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a global healthcare problem associated with poor patient outcomes. Early detection is key to improving patient survival. OSCC may be preceded by clinically-recognisable lesions, termed oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMD). As histological assessment of OPMD does not accurately predict their clinical behaviour, biomarkers are required to detect cases at risk of malignant transformation. Epidermal growth factor receptor gene copy number (EGFR GCN) is a validated biomarker in lung non-small cell carcinoma. We examined EGFR GCN in OPMD and OSCC to determine its potential as a biomarker in oral carcinogenesis. Methods: EGFR GCN was examined by in situ hybridisation (ISH) in biopsies from 78 patients with OPMD and 92 patients with early-stage (stages I and II) OSCC. EGFR ISH signals were scored by two pathologists and a category assigned by consensus. The data were correlated with patient demographics and clinical outcomes. Results: OPMD with abnormal EGFR GCN were more likely to undergo malignant transformation than diploid cases. EGFR genomic gain was detected in a quarter of early-stage OSCC, but did not correlate with clinical outcomes. Conclusion: These data suggest that abnormal EGFR GCN has clinical utility as a biomarker for the detection of OPMD destined to undergo malignant transformation. Prospective studies are required to verify this finding. It remains to be determined if EGFR GCN could be used to select patients for EGFR-targeted therapies. Impact: Abnormal EGFR GCN is a potential biomarker for identifying OPMD that are at risk of malignant transformation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bates T, Kennedy M, Diajil A, Goodson M, Thomson P, Doran E, Farrimond H, Thavaraj S, Sloan P, Kist R, Robinson M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention

Year: 2016

Volume: 25

Issue: 6

Pages: 927-935

Online publication date: 08/04/2016

Acceptance date: 11/03/2016

Date deposited: 08/06/2016

ISSN (print): 1055-9965

ISSN (electronic): 1538-7755

Publisher: American Association for Cancer Research


DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0949

PubMed id: 27197272


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