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Mouth may tell the tale of lung damage caused by smoking
Date:4/13/2008

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Strong correlations were observed between methylation patterns in both tissues. When methylation of either gene was considered positive, 37 of the 39 individuals (95 percent) with p16 and/or FHIT promoter methylation in the oral samples had promoter methylation in at least one matched bronchial sample. This compared with only 59 of the 86 (69 percent) individuals without the promoter methylation in the oral samples. Similar correlations were seen at the three-month analysis.

"Our study provides the first systematic evidence that accessible tissue, the oral epithelium, can be used to monitor molecular events in less accessible tissue," Bhutani said. "This provides a convenient biomonitoring method to provide insight into the molecular events that take place in the lungs of chronic smokers."

One follow-up area of study is to find additional biomarkers in oral tissue. "We hope that our findings encourage researchers to test an increasing compendium of biomarkers to confirm the reliability of oral epithelium not only in lung cancer chemoprevention but also in therapeutic settings" said Ashutosh Kumar Pathak, M.D., another key study author and a post-doctoral fellow in Surgical Oncology.

"Our study opens the door to enhancing our ability to predict who has higher probability of getting tobacco-related cancers," Mao said. "Not only lung cancer, but pancreatic, bladder and head-and-neck cancers, which also are associated with tobacco use."


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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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