Cytokines and tumor markers in potentially malignant disorders and oral squamous cell carcinoma: a pilot study

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To evaluate serum levels of interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R), squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA), tissue polypeptide–specific antigen (TPS) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in patients with potentially malignant disorders (PMD), oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), or status-post (SP) OSCC.

Subjects and Methods

Blood was collected from 47 patients, either controls or diagnosed with PMD, OSCC, or SPOSCC. Levels of cytokines and tumor marker were evaluated by ELISAs. Normal levels were based on previous studies and pathology determined by chi-square and Fisher's exact tests. P ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


Above normal levels of SCCA were found for OSCC and dysplasia patients (33.3% and 11.1%, respectively) and high range of normal (upper 20% of the normal range) for lichen planus, SPOSCC, and dysplasia patients (6.67%, 33.3%, and 22.2%, respectively), differences that approached statistical significance (P = 0.055). No differences were found between groups for other tested markers. A progression was seen for SCCA from high range of normal in SPOSCC to a mixture of high normal and elevated in dysplasia to elevated in active OSCC, suggesting that SCCA may be correlated with cancer progression.


Higher levels of serum SCCA may serve as a marker for dysplasia and progression to oral carcinogenesis.

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