Is salivary epidermal growth factor a biomarker for oral leukoplakia? A preliminary study

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The aim of this study was to compare the salivary epidermal growth factor (EGF) levels between patients with oral leukoplakia (OL) and clinically healthy individuals, to evaluate the association between salivary and tissular EGF, and to correlate EGF with clinicopathologic data, including the presence of dysplasia.

Study Design.

Salivary EGF levels were measured in 32 patients and 32 controls. The tissue expressions of EGF and its receptor (EGFR) were immunohistochemically evaluated.


Salivary EGF levels were similar in patients with OL compared with controls. There was no association between the salivary levels and immunohistochemical expression of EGF. An absence of EGF detection by immunohistochemistry was associated with development of multiple lesions. Dysplastic lesions showed a tendency toward presenting higher salivary EGF levels.


Currently, it is not possible to indicate salivary EGF as a biomarker for OL. Further studies are needed to elucidate the role of EGF in oral carcinogenesis. A follow-up study is necessary to evaluate the changes in EGF values following the surgical excision of OL.

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