NHS to trial blood test that detects over 50 early-stage cancers

Source: www.sciencefocus.com
Author: Sara Rigby, PA Science

A blood test that may be able to spot more than 50 types of cancer will be piloted by the NHS, chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has announced. Developed by US-based company Grail, the test checks for molecular changes.

The Galleri blood test, which can detect early stage cancers through a simple blood test, will be piloted with 165,000 patients in a deal struck by NHS England.

NHS England said research on patients with signs of cancer suggests the test can identify many types that are difficult to diagnose early, such as head and neck, ovarian, pancreatic, oesophageal and some blood cancers.

If the programme shows that the test also works as expected for people without symptoms, it will be rolled out to become routinely available. The test could help meet the NHS goal of increasing the proportion of cancers caught early, which can be the key to reducing cancer mortality.

Patients who have their condition diagnosed at stage one – when the tumour is small and hasn’t spread – typically have between 5 and 10 times the chance of surviving compared with those found at stage four – when it has spread to at least one other organ.

“While the good news is that cancer survival is now at a record high, over a thousand people every day are newly diagnosed with cancer,” said Stevens. “Early detection – particularly for hard-to-treat conditions like ovarian and pancreatic cancer – has the potential to save many lives. This promising blood test could therefore be a game-changer in cancer care, helping thousands more people to get successful treatment.”

The pilot, which is due to start in mid-2021, will involve 165,000 people. This will include 140,000 participants aged 50 to 79 who have no symptoms but will have annual blood tests for three years. Another 25,000 people with possible cancer symptoms will also be offered testing to speed up their diagnosis after being referred to hospital in the normal way.

People will be identified through NHS records and approached to take part. Anyone with a positive test will be referred to the NHS for investigation.

Results of these studies are expected by 2023, and if outcomes are positive, then they would be expanded to involve around one million participants across 2024 and 2025.

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2020-11-29T15:12:54-07:00November, 2020|Oral Cancer News|

Thousands of Brits may be living with mouth cancer after ‘healthy’ dad dies aged 37

Source: www.mirror.co.uk
Author: Alan Weston & Sam Truelove

A dentist has warned that thousands of Brits may be unknowingly living with mouth cancer after a “healthy” dad-of-seven died from the disease.

Alan Birch, 37, lived a healthy, active lifestyle and did not drink or smoke but died from an aggressive form of mouth cancer in April. The self-employed plasterer, from Wirral in Merseyside, was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2018, and had to have 90 per cent of his tongue removed, Liverpool Echo reports.

Despite Alan undergoing both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the cancer returned each time and specialists told his devastated family there was nothing more they could do for him.

Alan and his partner of 12 years, Debbie McDonough, decided to get married in February, but he tragically died a few weeks later in April.

With the latest figures from the British Dental Association showing that 19 million treatments have been missed due to lockdown, dentists are now concerned about the number of cases of mouth cancer that will have potentially gone undiagnosed this year as a result.

Mouth cancer takes more lives than cervical cancer and testicular cancer combined, with 8,722 new cases reported in the UK last year. This is a 58 per cent increase compared to a decade ago and a 97 per cent rise since 2000.

Debbie said: “I would urge people to always keep on top of their dentist appointments as they are the ones who notice the warning signs for mouth and tongue cancer.

“Always be careful of ulcers especially if you have them longer than two weeks, and never think you are wasting an appointment if you are worried about anything. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

New research revealed that 52 per cent of people living in the North-West are unaware their dentist will screen them for mouth cancer during a routine check-up.

Dr Catherine Tannahill, dentist and director of clinical dentistry at Portman Dental Care, which carried out the research, said: “As dentists we see first-hand the impact this disease can have, and that’s why we want to ensure people are aware of what the signs and symptoms are, what to do if they spot an issue and what steps they can take to reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer.

“This is now more important than ever before, as thousands of diagnoses may have potentially been missed this year due to dental practices having to close in initial lockdown, and the subsequent backlog of appointments since.

“While this may sound alarming, early diagnosis of mouth cancer leads to a 90 per cent survival rate, which is why it is imperative that people continue visiting their dentist for regular check-ups.

“Dentists play a pivotal role in the detection of mouth cancer, as they will always check for the classic signs of the disease during any routine appointment. As a dental professional, it was concerning to see through our research how many people were unaware of this.”

According to Dr Tannahill, the most common signs of mouth cancer are mouth ulcers that do not heal in three weeks, unusual lumps or swelling in the mouth, head or neck, and red and white patches within the mouth.

Mouth cancer can appear in the tonsils, the roof or floor of the mouth and in the tongue, and people should regularly check all areas of their mouth.

“There are also a few simple lifestyle changes that people can make that can help reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer,” Dr Tannahill added.

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2020-11-29T15:06:57-07:00November, 2020|Oral Cancer News|

Why immunotherapy only works for some with head and neck cancer

Source: medicalxpress.com
Author: Katie Pence, University of Cincinnati

Image of a healthy T cell on left compared to a cancer T cell on right. Credit: Ameet Chimote

University of Cincinnati researchers have discovered new clues into why some people with head and neck cancer respond to immunotherapy, while others don’t.

Findings published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer show that it could all come down to “channeling” the power and function within one particular type of immune cell.

Laura Conforti, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine and corresponding author on the study, says understanding these mechanisms could help in creating combination treatments to more effectively treat some patients with cancer.

She points out that head and neck cancers are the sixth most common cancers in the world, affecting about 53,000 Americans every year. To combat the deadly disease, doctors often turn to immunotherapy, which boosts the body’s own immune system in an effort to identify and kill cancer cells.

“Our immune cells are naturally programmed to distinguish between our body’s ‘normal’ cells and what they see as ‘foreign’ cells and attack only the foreign cells,” explains Conforti.

She says the immune cells—called T cells— lead the body’s attack against cancers but the impact of that attack can be proven futile if a molecule in cancer cells is able to bind to an immune checkpoint in the T cells and effectively “turn them off like a light switch.” As a result, the T cells leave the cancer cells alone, which Conforti says is “a major problem,” especially for head and neck cancers.

A known immunotherapy treatment (pembrolizumab) targets the checkpoint molecule and blocks the “off switch” of the T cells, but scientists are trying to determine why this method works in some people and not in others. Conforti further explains that the ability of these T cells to attack and destroy cancer cells relies on molecules called potassium ion channels, which are present in T cells and are responsible for a variety of functions, including killing cancer cells.

Conforti’s team includes co-lead authors Hannah Newton, Ph.D., a recent UC doctoral graduate; Vaibhavkumar Gawali, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow; and Ameet Chimote, Ph.D., research scientist in Conforti’s lab. The team found that when patients with head and neck cancer were given immunotherapy at UC Medical Center, T cells in these patients showed increased activity in these channels, allowing them to more effectively reach the cancer cells and kill them.

The team also found that after the treatment was delivered to patients, these channels in the T cells circulating in their blood were more active, meaning they were more equipped to continue fighting off the cancerous cells.

“We also saw that head and neck cancer patients who were responding to this immunotherapy, meaning their tumors were shrinking, had greater channel activity in their T cells soon after treatment, and the T cells had more ability to enter into the tumors to continue killing cancer cells,” Conforti adds. “However, patients who did not respond lacked this increased activity.

“Immunotherapy is not one-size-fits all, since some patients respond to immunotherapy, while others don’t, but our research shows that ion channels within T cells of these patients play a crucial role in the response of immunotherapy. Now that we know the benefits of these channels, more research is needed to look at ways we can activate them or create combination therapies to help patients increase their chance of survival.”

Team member Newton, who recently completed her doctorate at UC and is now working at the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, says that working on this study at UC was invaluable.

“This research allowed me to collaborate with diverse professional individuals including medical oncologists, clinical coordinators and other researchers and gave me the opportunity to better understand the bench-to-bedside procedure for drug development,” Newton says. “Most importantly, it could help clinicians determine more personalized and effective treatment combinations for patients with head and neck cancer.”

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2020-11-25T13:38:19-07:00November, 2020|Oral Cancer News|

UArizona clinical trail expanding after early results with personalized cancer vaccine

Source: www.kold.com
Author: Karly Tinsley

Despite the pandemic, groundbreaking research has not stopped at the University of Arizona. Researchers with the UArizona Health Sciences are working to help treat cancer by using personalized vaccines. It works in combination with the immuno-therapy drug Pembrolizumab.

According to the UArizona, Julie E. Bauman, MD, MPH, deputy director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center and a professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, presented preliminary data on the first 10 patients with head and neck cancer, seven of which were treated at Banner – University Medicine, the clinical partner for the UArizona Cancer Center. Five of the 10 patients experienced a clinical response to the personalized cancer vaccine, and two patients had a complete response after the treatment (no detectable disease present).

Molly Cassidy is one of the 10 who went through the trial.

“I was a young healthy woman, so it was a big shock to get diagnosed,” said Cassidy.

She was first diagnosed with oral cancer after complaining of an ear ache. Dentists initially found a tumor in her tongue that was later identified as cancer. She then went through treatment for the tumor, but her cancer came back aggressively.

“I had tumors throughout my neck, in my lungs, I was really really ill,” said Cassidy.

At this time she was seeing Dr. Bauman, who said they both understood her chances of survival were slim at that point.

“I was writing my will,” said Cassidy.

“She asked me to prepare her. It was not viewed as curable and she began to do end of life work,” said Dr. Bauman.

That’s when Dr. Bauman offered her the option of joining her clinical trial. It’s a treatment tailored specifically to the patient. Their cancer cells are used to develop a personalized vaccine that teaches their immune system how to recognize and destroy their cancer.

According to UArizona, to identify the patient-specific mutations of the cancer, mutated DNA from the patient’s tumor is simultaneously sequenced with healthy DNA from the patient’s blood. Computers compare the two DNA samples to identify the unique cancer mutations.

The results are used to develop a set of genetic instructions that are loaded onto a single molecule of messenger RNA (mRNA) and made into a vaccine. These instructions teach immune cells such as T-cells – white blood cells that help protect against infection – how to identify and attack the mutated cancer cells.

“It’s a medicine that is individualized, personalized, and is not one size fits all,” said Dr. Bauman.

Cassidy began the series of 9 shots of her specific vaccine and for the first time things were improving.

“We were cautiously hopeful,” said Dr. Bauman.

It makes her one of two patients in the trial who’ve responded completely, with cancer no longer detectable on a CT scan.

“To see that reversed was striking, stunning, extremely unusual,” said Dr. Bauman.

The trial is now being expanded to more patients due to the early results, as Dr. Bauman is now working with 40 patients with head and neck cancer. Giving those like Cassidy a second chance to picture life after a cancer diagnosis.

“To have such a great response has given me so much of my life back,” said Cassidy.

Her treatment is for two years in the trial, and so far Cassidy remains in complete response.

Dr. Bauman said a personalized vaccine also strives to be less toxic on the body, by not awakening cells that typically attack the organs with regular immunotherapy.

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2020-11-21T10:33:28-07:00November, 2020|Oral Cancer News|

Deciphering molecular intelligence for early oral cancer detection

Source: www.openaccessgovernment.org
Author: Muy-Teck Teh, Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London

Muy-Teck Teh, Senior Lecturer from Barts and the London School of Medicine & Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London discusses how a novel low-cost rapid digital diagnostic test could help save lives and reduce head and neck cancer burden worldwide:

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a heterogenous group of diseases involving malignancies of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses and salivary glands.

It is the sixth most common cancer, with an incidence of around 600,000 cases worldwide. These numbers are expected to double by 2035, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Despite advances in treatment options for oral cancer (mostly oral squamous cell carcinoma, OSCC), the 5-year survival rate (~50%) has not improved over the last half century, mainly because many malignancies are not diagnosed until late stages of the disease.

Published data showed that over 70% of OSCC patients have some form of pre-existing oral premalignant disorder (OPMD) lesions amenable to early diagnosis and risk stratification. Hence, the potential to reduce the morbidity and mortality of OSCC through early detection is of critical importance.

Century old diagnostic method needs upgrading
OPMDs are very common but clinicians are unable to differentiate between high- and low-risk OPMDs through histopathological gold standard method based on subjective opinion provided by pathologists.

As there is currently no quantitative method to detect high-risk lesions, most OPMD patients are indiscriminately put on time consuming, costly and stressful surveillance. Such “waiting game” creates unnecessary stress and anxiety in majority of low risk patients (88%), whilst delaying and under-treating minority of high-risk patients (12%).

Current requirements of biopsy for histopathology are quite strict and the insensitive nature of histopathology means that biopsies need to be quite large (5-10mm) so that pathologists could see differences between the lesion and its margin. Hence, the scalpel biopsy procedure will need suturing and causes significant pain and stress to the patients. An experienced pathologist may be better at spotting cancerous cells compared to an inexperienced pathologist to provide a subjective opinion based on his/her visual findings. The whole process takes at least 1 week. Patients may seek second opinions from different pathologists, further delaying treatments.

Most importantly, histopathology is currently NOT able to definitively differentiate between low and high-risk lesions.

Early cancer detection saves lives and costs
A systematic review on OPMD estimated a malignancy conversion rate of 12%, but cancer detection rates have been reported to be lower (7%) despite patients being referred using the fast-track, two-week suspected cancer referral system in the UK.

A 10-year audit (2002-2012) in a district general hospital in the UK found a dramatic 450% increase in the annual number of patients referred using the two-week cancer referral pathway but cancer detection rate decreased by 50% indicating that a large proportion of referred cases were false positives thereby unnecessarily increasing the burden on secondary care.

The latest National Head and Neck Cancer Audit 2014 in the UK found that over 70% of patients waited between 10-21 days from biopsy to histopathology reporting. Delayed treatment directly causes poor long-term morbidity and survival.

Cost-effectiveness studies (UK and Taiwan) have independently demonstrated significant cost savings when OSCC patients were treated at stage 0 (premalignant) or stage 1 compared to stage 2-4. Collectively, these evidenced a significant disease and financial burden to the current healthcare systems.

It has been repeatedly emphasised that early diagnosis of OSCC is the key to improving patient outcome. Hence, a rapid effective diagnostic method that can identify early cases of high-risk OPMD patients would help alleviate the current disease and financial burdens in treating OSCC patients.

A novel intervention: The qMIDS digital cancer technology
All cellular processes are tightly regulated by a complex network of interacting biomolecules. Given that mRNA transcription precedes protein translation, change in gene expression levels often precedes visible pathological manifestation. Hence, changes in gene expression serve as key signals for subsequent disease initiation and manifestation.

Dr. Teh has pioneered a molecular test qMIDS (quantitative Malignancy Index Diagnostic System)1, that deciphers key molecular biomarkers into quantitative diagnostic results for clinicians to identify high-risk oral lesions within 90 mins (Figure 1). The qMIDS assay involves using qPCR to measure a panel of 16 biomarkers associated with a key oncogene FOXM12-7, implicated in the regulation of the cell cycle, genomic stability, chromatin maintenance, stem cell regulation, matrix and immune modulation.

FOXM1 transcription factor has been shown to be amongst the top upregulated oncogenes across 39 cancer types and is a major predictor of poor cancer prognosis2-7. The qMIDS assay represents the first ever FOXM1-based cancer diagnostic test and it has been validated on over 450 participants from UK, Norway, China, Pakistan and India, demonstrating a rapid minimally invasive method enabling precise digital quantitative cancer risk stratification in otherwise ambiguous dysplastic lesions1, 8.

Their previous collaborative studies provided independent evidence that the pathophysiology of OSCC was molecularly indistinguishable between the Asian and European specimens. The qMIDS test robustly quantifies a universal FOXM1-driven oncogenic program in OSCC which transcends ethnicity, age, gender and geographic origins1, 8. The qMIDS diagnostic efficiency was found to have; Sensitivity: 88%; Specificity: 96%; Accuracy: 92%; False positive rate: 4.5%; False negative rate: 12%; Area under the curve: 0.945.

qMIDS requires only a tiny amount of tissue biopsy (1 mm) compared to conventional surgical biopsy (>5-10 mm) which are highly invasive and may require general anaesthesia for patients unable to tolerate injections of local anaesthesia. The minimally invasive qMIDS also reduces the overall time from biopsy to results (<1.5 hours with qMIDS compared with >1 week for histopathology). A simple and small 1 mm punch biopsy requires significantly less time to perform than a scalpel biopsy. The small sample requirement also enables multiple punch biopsies sampling for patients with large oral field changes.

Although invasive, using tissue biopsy provides a more accurate and reliable diagnosis compared to non-invasive (visual imaging scopes/stains, saliva or cytology) methods which are not reliable and still ultimately require tissue biopsy for confirmation by pathologists.

In conclusion, a minimal invasive affordable molecular test such as qMIDS could be used for rapid risk stratification of OPMDs to enable early detection and treatment of high-risk patients. Primary prevention through early detection of cancer offers the best chance for improving patient survival and reducing overall costs and HNSCC cancer burden especially in developing countries where the disease is most prevalent.

Further details of qMIDS could be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/qmids/home

1 Teh MT, Hutchison IL, Costea DE, et al. Exploiting FOXM1-orchestrated molecular network for early squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis and prognosis. Int J Cancer. May 1 2013;132(9):2095-106. doi:10.1002/ijc.27886.

2 Roh V, Hiou-Feige A, Misetic V, et al. The transcription factor FOXM1 regulates the balance between proliferation and aberrant differentiation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. J Pathol. 01 2020;250(1):107-119. doi:10.1002/path.5342.

3 Qadir F, Aziz MA, Sari CP, et al. Transcriptome reprogramming by cancer exosomes: identification of novel molecular targets in matrix and immune modulation. Mol Cancer. Jul 2018;17(1):97. doi:10.1186/s12943-018-0846-5.

4 Teh MT. FOXM1 coming of age: Time for translation into clinical benefits? Perspective. Frontiers in Oncology. 2012-October-15 2012;2(146):1-6 (10.3389/fonc.2012.00146). doi:10.3389/fonc.2012.00146

5 Teh MT. Initiation of Human Tumourigenesis: Upregulation of FOXM1 Transcription Factor. In: Hayat MA, ed. Stem Cells and Cancer Stem Cells,Volume 3. Springer Netherlands; 2012:149-154:chap 14. Stem Cells and Cancer Stem Cells.

6 Gemenetzidis E, Costea DE, Parkinson EK, Waseem A, Wan H, Teh MT. Induction of human epithelial stem/progenitor expansion by FOXM1. Cancer Res. Nov 15 2010;70(22):9515-26.

7 Teh MT, Wong ST, Neill GW, Ghali LR, Philpott MP, Quinn AG. FOXM1 is a downstream target of Gli1 in basal cell carcinomas. Cancer Res. Aug 15 2002;62(16):4773-80.

8 Ma H, Dai H, Duan X, et al. Independent evaluation of a FOXM1-based quantitative malignancy diagnostic system (qMIDS) on head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Oncotarget. Aug 23 2016;7(34):54555-54563. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.10512.

*Note: This is a commercial profile

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2020-11-15T09:08:56-07:00November, 2020|Oral Cancer News|

NYU study shows oral cancer pain may predict likelihood of cancer spreading

Source: www.ada.org
Author: Mary Beth Versaci

An oral cancer patient’s pain intensity score could predict cancer metastasis, helping with future testing options and surgical decision-making, according to a study from the New York University College of Dentistry.

The authors of “Oncogenes Overexpressed in Metastatic Oral Cancers from Patients with Pain: Potential Pain Mediators Released in Exosomes,” published in September by Scientific Reports, an open-access journal from Nature Research, used a questionnaire to document the pain experienced by 72 oral cancer patients before oral cancer surgery. While most patients reported some pain, those with the most pain were more likely to have cancer that had spread to lymph nodes in the neck, suggesting patients with less pain were at lower risk of metastasis, according to the study.

“While we need to undertake a follow-up study, our current data reveal that a patient’s pain intensity score works as well as the current method — depth of invasion, or how deeply a tumor has invaded nearby tissue — as an index to predict metastasis,” lead author Aditi Bhattacharya, Ph.D., said in an NYU news release about the study.

To help understand why metastatic cancers are more painful, the researchers looked for differences in gene expression in metastatic cancers from patients with high levels of pain and nonmetastatic cancers from patients not experiencing pain and identified 40 genes that were more highly expressed in painful metastatic cancers, suggesting those genes are associated with oral cancer metastasis and mediate cancer pain, according to the study.

One cause of cancer pain is attributable to the release of mediators from cancers that sensitize nerves near the tumor. Many of the 40 genes identified in this study code for proteins found in exosomes, small vesicles that break away from a cell and can be taken up by other cells. This is a potential mechanism for how oral cancer cells affect nerves, according to the study.

When the researchers injected the paws of mice with the extracellular fluid of oral cancer cells grown in culture, only those animals injected with the fluid containing exosomes experienced pain. This suggests exosomes from cancer may be responsible for oral cancer pain, according to the study.

“The identified genes are targets for therapy aimed at stopping pain and cancer. In addition, exosomes shed from cancers can be detected in saliva, blood and urine, offering the potential for an objective molecular test to diagnose risk of metastasis,” said Donna Albertson, Ph.D., professor in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the NYU College of Dentistry, an investigator at the NYU Bluestone Center for Clinical Research and the study’s corresponding author.

When oral cancer spreads to lymph nodes in the neck, a patient’s chance of survival is cut by half, according to the release. Because it’s often unclear through imaging and physical assessment if oral cancer has spread, most oral cancer surgeries include preemptively removing lymph nodes, even though research shows as many as 70% of these prophylactic neck dissections are unnecessary, the release stated.

“Clinicians and researchers are keen to define a biomarker that accurately predicts metastasis,” said Dr. Bhattacharya, who is also an assistant professor in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the NYU College of Dentistry and an investigator at the NYU Bluestone Center for Clinical Research. “Given that patients with metastatic oral cancer experience more pain, we thought that a patient’s level of pain might help predict metastasis. A surgeon could then use this knowledge to only remove lymph nodes in patients with cancers that are most likely to metastasize.”

Note: The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

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2020-11-14T11:08:36-07:00November, 2020|Oral Cancer News|

Artificial intelligence being trained to predict risk of developing oral cancer

Source: thestreetjournal.org
Author: staff, NHS

The diagnosis of oral cancer could be ‘revolutionised’ by using artificial intelligence to predict whether someone is likely to develop the disease, experts have said.

Experts led from the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick have teamed up to investigate how machine learning could be applied to aid doctors in early detection.

Diagnoses of oral cancers — including those of the mouth, tongue and tonsils — have increased by almost 60 per cent over the last decade, team noted. The risk of such cancers is heightened by such factors as alcohol consumption, increasing age, insufficient fruit and vegetables, tobacco and viral infection.

Doctors evaluate the likelihood of pre-cancerous changes in the lining of the mouth — so-called oral epithelial dysplasia — developing into cancer using 15 criteria. As this approach is highly subjective, however, there is considerable variation in how patients are treated following biopsy — and a more objective system is needed.

The diagnosis of oral cancer could be ‘revolutionised’ by using artificial intelligence to predict whether someone is likely to develop the disease, experts have said.

‘The precise grading of oral epithelial dysplasia is a huge diagnostic challenge, even for experienced pathologists, as it is so subjective,’ said clinical dentist Ali Khurram of the University of Sheffield.

‘At the moment a biopsy may be graded differently by different pathologists, the same pathologist may even grade the same biopsy differently on a different day.’

‘Correct grading is vital in early oral cancer detection to inform treatment decisions, enabling a surgeon to determine whether a lesion should be monitored or surgically removed,’ he added.

‘Machine learning and artificial intelligence can aid tissue diagnostics by removing subjectivity, using automation and quantification to guide diagnosis and treatment.’

‘Until now this hasn’t been investigated, but artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionise oral cancer diagnosis and management by ensuring accuracy, consistency and objectivity.’

The researchers plan to use samples of tissue — alongside at least five years of patient follow up data — to train an algorithm to consider the statistical correlation between classifiers and survival rates.

This will then guide doctors as to help them make an informed decision on what to recommend for the given patient’s treatment.

‘People often feel threatened by AI, however rather than replacing a doctor’s expertise, exceptionally high-level of training and experience, the technology can help to assist their decision-making and compliment their skills,’ added Dr Khurram.

‘This will help them to give a more accurate assessment and enable them to recommend the most beneficial treatment pathway for individual patients which will hope will help to improve survival rates.’

‘The pilot project will pave the way towards the development of a tool that can help identify pre-malignant changes in oral dysplasia, said computational pathologist Nasir Rajpoot of the University of Warwick.

This, he explained, is ‘crucial for the early detection of oral cancer.’

‘Successful completion of this project carries significant potential for saving lives and improving patient healthcare provision.’

What is Mouth Cancer?
Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, is where a tumour develops in the lining of the mouth. It may be on the surface of the tongue, the insides of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth (palate), or the lips or gums.

Tumours can also develop in the glands that produce saliva, the tonsils at the back of the mouth, and the part of the throat connecting your mouth to your windpipe (pharynx). However, these are less common.

Symptoms of mouth cancer include:

  • sore mouth ulcers that don’t heal within several weeks
  • unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that don’t go away
  • unexplained, persistent lumps in the neck that don’t go away
  • unexplained looseness of teeth, or sockets that don’t heal after extractions
  • unexplained, persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue
  • sometimes, white or red patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue – these can be early signs of cancer, so they should also be investigated
  • changes in speech, such as a lisp

See your GP or dentist if these symptoms don’t heal within three weeks, particularly if you drink or smoke heavily.

Source: NHS

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2020-11-04T12:05:12-07:00November, 2020|Oral Cancer News|

Mouth cancer in the UK at record high

Source: www.hippocraticpost.com
Author: staff

New cases of mouth cancer in the UK have risen to a record high, according to the findings of a new report.

  • New figures show there have been 8,722 new cases of mouth cancer in the UK last year.
  • This is an increase of 58% compared to ten years ago and 97% compared to 20 years ago.
  • Data released in a new report to coincide with November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Figures collected by the Oral Health Foundation show that 8,722 people in the UK were diagnosed with the disease last year, increasing by 97% since 2000.

Mouth cancer cases in the UK have soared for the 11th year in a row and have more than doubled within the last generation.

The findings are part of the charity’s new State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2020/21 and have been released to coincide with November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes with mouth cancer cases continuing to rise, more must be done to raise awareness of the disease.

Dr Carter says: “While many cancers are seeing a reduction in the number of people affected, mouth cancer is one of very few that is sadly going the other way. Established risk factors like smoking and excessive alcohol have been joined by emerging causes like the human papillomavirus (HPV). This has changed the profile of the disease quite considerably over recent years and mouth cancer can now affect anybody.

“The disease can have a devastating and lasting effect on a person’s life. It can change how somebody speaks, it makes eating and drinking more difficult, and often leads to changes to a person’s physical appearance. Because of this, it also takes a heavy toll on a person’s mental health too.

“One of the biggest challenges we face regarding mouth cancer is how little educational support it receives from government and public health bodies. As part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, we will be working with thousands of organisations to improve awareness of the disease so that more people are able to recognise the early warning signs.”

Statistics from governing health bodies across the UK show around two-in-three (67%) mouth cancers are recorded in men while three-in-four (78%) are in the over 55’s.

Mouth cancer is most likely to occur in the tongue, contributing to more than one-in-three (34%) cases. Mouth cancer can also appear in the tonsils, the roof and floor of the mouth, lips and gums.

The early warning signs of the disease include mouth ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth, or unusual lumps and swellings. Persistent hoarseness could also be a symptom.

Dr Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director at Denplan, part of Simplyhealth, speaks about the importance of knowing how to spot mouth cancer early and acting quickly if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Dr Rutland says: “Self-checks and regular dental visits are extremely important for spotting mouth cancer in its initial stages, yet public awareness of mouth cancer actually remains very poor – around 3 out of 4 people said they did not know what the symptoms of mouth cancer are in the Oral Health Foundation’s latest research. Many mouth cancer cases are caught far too late. For a significant proportion of patients, a delay of three to six months in diagnosis and treatment will affect the likelihood of achieving long-term survival.

“Be ‘mouthaware’ and alert to any unusual changes to the mouth, head or neck. Mouth ulcers lasting more than three weeks, unexplained persistent lumps, red patches and white patches are all signs that should be checked by a dentist. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t wait. Book an appointment with your dentist so that they can examine you.

“For Mouth Cancer Action Month this November, make sure you know the basics. Learn how to perform a quick self-check (visit mouthcancer.org), know what to look for and where mouth cancer occurs. By doing this, you give yourself the best possible chance of overcoming mouth cancer.”

Roy Templeton (59) from Beauly, Inverness, was diagnosed with mouth cancer of the tonsils. Now given the all clear, Roy says his experience of mouth cancer will never leave him.

Roy says: “Although I had heard of mouth cancer, I wasn’t aware how terribly common it was, and I didn’t know anybody personally who had had it. Any conversations I’d heard about people with mouth cancer had given me the impression it happens to much older people and especially those who heavily drank or smoke. I didn’t smoke and I was a moderate drinker, so the diagnosis really came as a shock.

“Going through cancer treatment had a big effect on me mentally. It crystallised in my own mind that life is quite precious. When it comes to opportunities arising in your life, either in work or your personal life, you want to grab every moment more than ever before.

“I was quite fortunate that I went to my GP early when I found something not right. If you have any inkling something is wrong, I would urge you to get it looked at. Getting checked out early could save your life.”

Spotting mouth cancer early is crucial for beating the disease. Early detection boosts the chances of survival from 50% to 90% while also dramatically improving a person’s quality of life.

Sadly, far too many mouth cancers are caught in the late stages of the disease. Latest annual reports show mouth cancer claims 2,702 lives a year, which on average is one person every hour.

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2020-11-04T11:53:47-07:00November, 2020|Oral Cancer News|

Breath analysis for effective detection of cancer

Source: washingtonnewsday.com
Author: Jonathan Edwards

By analyzing a breath sample, it seems possible to successfully identify different types of cancer, according to the results of the new study involving researchers from Flinders University. The study was published in the English language journal British Journal of Cancer.

Researchers have now made significant progress in developing a breath analysis to detect cancer. The new method has made it possible to effectively identify cancer of the head and neck.

Six percent of all cancers worldwide are head and neck cancers, which kill more than 300,000 people every year. Tobacco, alcohol and poor oral hygiene are known major risk factors for this form of cancer. The increase in head and neck cancer is associated with human papilloma virus (HPV) and also affects younger population groups, the research team continued.

Current therapies are effective in treating early-stage disease, but such diseases are often detected in the late stages and are often associated with a poorer prognosis and high morbidity. It is therefore important to identify dangerous diseases such as head and neck cancer as quickly as possible.

Cancers of the neck and head are widespread

The global effort to use a person’s breath analysis for fast, inexpensive and accurate testing for cancer and other early-stage diseases could take a big step forward with the new method.

For the study, breath samples were taken from 181 people suspected of having early head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. By examining exhalation profiles, the newly developed method made it possible to differentiate precisely between people with head and neck cancer and non-cancer patients, the researchers report.

“We were trying to determine the diagnostic accuracy of breath analysis as a non-invasive test for detecting head and neck cancer, which over time may lead to a simple method to improve treatment outcomes and patient morbidity,” the experts explain in a press release from Flinders University.

Detect cancer through a breath test?

In the future, the researchers hope to test the new method in primary care facilities such as family doctor’s offices in order to effectively develop the test for early detection. (as)

The new breath test has an average sensitivity and specificity of 85 percent when it comes to differentiating between people with cancer and people in the control group with a benign disease. The diagnosis was then verified by analyzing tissue biopsies, the team explained.

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Thousands of Britons with deadly mouth cancer will be spared gruelling chemotherapy thanks to immune-boosting drug

Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
Author: Eve Simmons for The Mail on Sunday

Thousands of Britons with deadly mouth cancer will now be spared grueling chemotherapy thanks to an immune-boosting drug. The treatment, given the green light by health chiefs last week, offers fresh hope to patients whose cancer has either spread or deemed inoperable.

Currently, these patients have two options to prolong their life – chemotherapy and weekly infusions of potent cancer drugs, which often leave patients debilitated and confined to bed for the short time they have left. But now immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab can help some patients with the disease live up to 30 per cent longer than they would with chemotherapy, with 50 per cent fewer side effects.

Last week’s ruling by UK health watchdog NICE, which was based on the results of final-stage international trials, permits the treatment not only for advanced mouth cancer but also cancers of the nose, sinuses and salivary glands, known collectively as head and neck cancers.

Doctors must first test patients’ tumours for a protein called PD-L1, which limits the immune system’s ability to find and destroy the cancer.

Immunotherapy drugs such as pembrolizumab blocks PD-L1, helping the body’s fighter cells to attack tumours.The majority of people with advanced head and neck cancer will test positive for PD-L1.

Roughly 12,000 Britons are diagnosed with these cancers every year – mostly men over the age of 70. In the majority of cases, head and neck cancers are spotted at a late stage as they are often mistaken for other less serious conditions. By the time they are diagnosed, the cancer has spread to other nearby tissues and prognosis is poor, with many surviving just six months.

Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research who trialled the new drug discovered that some patients lived for more than a year following pembrolizumab treatment. Pembrolizumab is already used widely on the NHS to treat skin, bladder and small cell lung cancers.

Professor Kevin Harrington, consultant clinical oncologist at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, welcomed the decision. He said: ‘Pembrolizumab can improve survival, while avoiding some of the most challenging side effects.’

Prof Harrington said he was ‘disappointed’ that health chiefs did not extend approval for combination therapy – using pembrolizumab alongside chemotherapy, which is shown to have the most significant impact on survival.

He remains ‘hopeful’ that NICE may go further and fund combination therapy in the future, for those whom it is appropriate.

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