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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 92-99

Evaluation of tumor necrosis factor: Alpha in the saliva of oral cancer, leukoplakia, and healthy controls – A comparative study

Department of Oral Pathology, Azeezia College of Dental Sciences and Research, Kollam, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
M Ameena
Department of Oral Pathology, Azeezia College of Dental Sciences and Research, Kollam, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jioh.jioh_202_18

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Aims: The survival of oral squamous-cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients remains poor despite recent treatment advances. A sensitive and specific biomarker is important in screening high-risk patients. The present study was undertaken to test a hypothesis whether salivary tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) can be used as a biomarker for OSCC. The study aimed to assess salivary TNF-α in OSCC, leukoplakia, and whether it can be used as a biomarker for the early diagnosis of OSCC. The objectives are as follows: (1) To evaluate salivary TNF-α and compare with histological grades of OSCC. (2) To evaluate salivary TNF-α in leukoplakia and compare with different grades of dysplasia. (3) To compare TNF-α levels in the saliva of oral cancer patients with leukoplakia patients and with healthy control group. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in 90 participants, of which 30 healthy individuals, 30 leukoplakia, and 30 OSCC patients. Whole unstimulated saliva was collected and analyzed using an ELISA test. Results: TNF-α was significantly elevated in leukoplakia, further elevated in OSCC as compared to controls. There was a significant difference in TNF-α between the different histopathological grades of OSCC and leukoplakia (P ≤ 0.01). There were also statistically significant differences in TNF-α level between different clinical stages in OSCC (P ≤ 0.05). ROC curve analysis and area under curve values showed high specificity and sensitivity in differentiating OSCC from leukoplakia and healthy controls. Conclusion: The present study shows that salivary TNF-α can be used as a marker for predicting leukoplakia and oral cancer. The study also showed a significant correlation between clinical staging and histopathological grading of OSCC and TNF-α level.

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