Analysis of the oral metagenome for markers of malignant transformation of oral leukoplakia

Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) accounts for 90% of oral cancers. According to the National Cancer Registry, the rate of OSCC in Ireland is increasing annually by 3.3% and early diagnosis and treatment is crucial if patients are to survive beyond 5 years. OSCCs can arise de novo or from preneoplasis such as Oral Leukoplakia (OLK). OLK manifests as white patches on the lining of the mouth and is a lesion with high-malignant potential, however the mechanisms by which these patches develop into oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) are poorly understood. Our recent data show that these lesions are colonised with Fusobacteria which have been associated with malignant progression at other sites in the gastrointestinal tract.

This study will examine a large cohort of OLK patients to determine if these bacteria are associated with high-risk lesions exhibiting severe dysplasia and will therefore allow us to design tests to identify those patients most at risk of developing oral cancer.

Award Date
27 June 2019
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Gary Moran
Host Institution
Dublin Dental University Hospital
Investigator Led Projects