Early detection of oral squamous cell cancer (OSCC) is the key to improve the low 5-year survival rate. Using proteomic and genomic technologies we have previously discovered and validated salivary OSCC markers in American patients. The question arises whether these biomarkers are discriminatory in cohorts of different ethnic background. Six transcriptome (DUSP1, IL8, IL1B, OAZ1, SAT1, and S100P) and three proteome (IL1B, IL8, and M2BP) biomarkers were tested on 18 early and 17 late stage OSCC patients and 51 healthy controls with quantitative PCR and ELISA. Four transcriptome (IL8, IL1B, SAT1, and S100P) and all proteome biomarkers were significantly elevated (p<0.05) in OSCC patients. The combination of markers yielded an AUC of 0.86, 0.85 and 0.88 for OSCC total, T1-T2, and T3-T4, respectively. The sensitivity/specificity for OSCC total was 0.89/0.78, for T1-T2 0.67/0.96, and for T3-T4 0.82/0.84. In conclusion, seven of the nine salivary biomarkers (three proteins and four mRNAs) were validated and performed strongest in late stage cancer. Patient-based salivary diagnostics is a highly promising approach for OSCC detection. This study shows that previously discovered and validated salivary OSCC biomarkers are discriminatory and reproducible in a different ethnic cohort. These findings support the feasibility to implement multi-center, multi-ethnicity clinical trials towards the pivotal validation of salivary biomarkers for OSCC detection.
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