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22-08-2012 | Oncology | Article

Salivary IL-6 could predict recurrence after surgery in mouth cancer patients


Free abstract

medwireNews: Salivary levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-6 could be a useful predictor for locoregional recurrence in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients who are treated surgically, report researchers.

IL-6 concentrations in their preliminary study were significantly higher post-treatment in OSCC patients who had locoregional recurrence than in those who did not.

The finding indicates that a salivary test could therefore be a suitable, noninvasive, follow-up test for OSCC patients who have undergone neck resection, suggest Jun Sato and colleagues from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.

There has been a lack of improvement in treatment outcomes and patient prognoses in the past 20 years, writes the team in Head and Neck, which is "essentially due to late diagnosis and frequent locoregional recurrences without successful salvage."

After previously finding that salivary concentrations of IL-6 changed during treatment in OSCC patients, Sato and co-workers investigated whether there were differences in 27 such patients who underwent radical surgery over a 1-year period.

A total of 11 (41%) patients had pathologically confirmed recurrence, of whom eight (73%) did so within 12 months of treatment, and the remaining three within 24 months of treatment. The researchers collected saliva samples at hospitalization and again at discharge after treatment, and measured IL-6 concentration with a chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay.

While concentrations of IL-6 did not differ significantly between pre- and postsurgery in the whole cohort, at respective median values of 2.8 and 2.1 pg/mL, the postsurgery salivary concentration was significantly higher among patients with locoregional recurrence than among those without, at respective medians of 18.0 versus 1.4 pg/mL.

Conversely, presurgery IL-6 concentrations did not differ significantly according to recurrence, neither was there any postsurgery difference in concentrations according to time of recurrence.

In multivariate analysis, only postsurgery salivary IL-6 concentration was an independent risk factor for locoregional recurrence at a risk ratio of 0.14.

"Early diagnosis and control of recurrent primary lesions and cervical lymph nose metastasis after surgery play an important role in the prognosis and cure of OSCC," remark Sato et al, and their results show that post-treatment salivary IL-6 concentration may be a marker for this.

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Sarah Guy, medwireNews Reporter

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