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Significance of serum butyrylcholinesterase levels in oral cancer

Keywords: Butyrylcholinesterase , oral carcinoma , prognosis

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BackgroundOral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a relatively commonepithelial malignancy, and thus represents a significantpublic health problem. Early detection improves quality oflife for affected patients. Identification of molecularmarkers (or biomarkers) which can predict diseaseprogression is necessary for better management of thesedisorders. A correlation of cholinesterase withtumourigenesis, cell proliferation and cell differentiationhas been observed. Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE;pseudocholinesterase) has been shown to be a biochemicalmarker for cervical cancer which is also an epithelialmalignancy. In this study, we sought to estimate andcompare serum BChE levels in healthy controls and patientswith biopsy-proven oral squamous cell cancer (also anepithelial malignancy) before definitive therapy asradiotherapy or chemotherapy may alter the levels of BChEand may act as a confounding variable.MethodAfter obtaining consent from biopsy proven oral cancerpatients (n= 39) (before onset of any definitive treatment),and from age- and sex-matched healthy controls (n = 20),2ml of blood was collected. After clot formation sampleswere centrifuged, serum was collected for estimation ofBChE.ResultsPre-treatment serum BChE levels were significantly elevated(p < 0.0001) in oral cancer patients compared to that ofcontrols. BChE levels showed a significant increase (p =0.005) with advancing stage in oral cancer patients.ConclusionOur results show there could be a role for serum BChE indetermining the prognosis of oral cancer.


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