A review of the most promising biomarkers for early diagnosis and prognosis prediction of tongue squamous cell carcinoma

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Background: There is a great interest in developing biomarkers to enhance early detection and clinical management of tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC). However, the developmental path towards a clinically valid biomarker remains extremely challenging. Ideally, the initial key step in moving a newly discovered biomarker towards clinical implementation is independent replication. Therefore, the focus of this review is on biomarkers that consistently showed clinical relevance in two or more publications. Methods: We searched PubMed database for relevant papers across different TSCC sample sources, i.e., body fluids (saliva, serum/plasma) and tissues. No restriction regarding the date of publication was applied except for immunohistochemistry (IHC); only studies published between 2010 and June 2017 were included. Results: The search strategy identified 1429 abstracts, of which 96 papers, examining 150 biomarkers, were eventually included. Of these papers, 66% were exploratory studies evaluating single or a panel of biomarkers in one publication. Ultimately, based on studies that had undergone validation for their clinical relevance in at least two independent studies, we identified 10 promising candidates, consisting of different types of molecules (IL-6, IL-8, and Prolactin in liquid samples; HIF-1α, SOX2, E-cadherin, vimentin, MALAT1, TP53, and NOTCH1 in tissue biopsies) Conclusions: Although more exploratory research is needed with newer methods to identify biomarkers for TSCC, rigorous validation of biomarkers that have already shown unbiased assessment in at least two publications should be considered a high priority. Further research on these promising biomarkers or their combination in multi-institutional studies, could provide new possibilities to develop a specific panel for early diagnosis, prognosis, and individualized treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-736
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2018

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