Tumor DNA In Saliva and Plasma May Be Biomarker For Head and Neck Cancer

Nishant Agrawal M.D. Associate Professor of Otolaryngology Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nishant Agrawal M.D.

Associate Professor of Otolaryngology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Agrawal: The idea of the study really arose from the specificity of genetic changes that characterize and are the hallmark of cancer cells.  Only cancer cells contain these mutations so their detection in bodily fluids was a reasonable expectation.  The current study builds on previous work from our group that tumor DNA can be detected in the bodily fluids of patients with many different types of solid malignancies.  The main findings of the study are that tumor DNA in saliva and plasma provides a non-invasive biomarker for head and neck cancer.  The take home message is that tumor DNA has potential to be used as a biomarker for screening, early detection, monitoring during treatment, and surveillance after cancer treatment is completed.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Agrawal: The clinical implications for patients and their oncologists is that in the near future there will be a non-invasive test that can be used to dynamically monitor cancer burden.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Agrawal: We still need to improve our test performance, optimize our gene panel, and validate our findings in a larger study.

Citation:

Nishant Agrawal et al. Detection of somatic mutations and HPV in the saliva and plasma of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Science Translational Medicine, June 2015 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa8507

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Nishant Agrawal M.D., Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, & Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2015). Tumor DNA In Saliva and Plasma May Be Biomarker For Head and Neck Cancer 

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