Quantitative prediction of oral cancer risk in patients with oral leukoplakia.

Liu Y, Li Y, Fu Y, Liu T, Liu X, Zhang X, Fu J, Guan X, Chen T, Chen X, Sun Z
Oncotarget 8 46057-46064 07/11/2017


Exfoliative cytology has been widely used for early diagnosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma. We have developed an oral cancer risk index using DNA index value to quantitatively assess cancer risk in patients with oral leukoplakia, but with limited success. In order to improve the performance of the risk index, we collected exfoliative cytology, histopathology, and clinical follow-up data from two independent cohorts of normal, leukoplakia and cancer subjects (training set and validation set). Peaks were defined on the basis of first derivatives with positives, and modern machine learning techniques were utilized to build statistical prediction models on the reconstructed data. Random forest was found to be the best model with high sensitivity (100%) and specificity (99.2%). Using the Peaks-Random Forest model, we constructed an index (OCRI2) as a quantitative measurement of cancer risk. Among 11 leukoplakia patients with an OCRI2 over 0.5, 4 (36.4%) developed cancer during follow-up (23 ± 20 months), whereas 3 (5.3%) of 57 leukoplakia patients with an OCRI2 less than 0.5 developed cancer (32 ± 31 months). OCRI2 is better than other methods in predicting oral squamous cell carcinoma during follow-up. In conclusion, we have developed an exfoliative cytology-based method for quantitative prediction of cancer risk in patients with oral leukoplakia.

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