Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most common cancer in the oral cavity. OSCC starts as a painless white patch, that thickens, develops red patches, an ulcer, and continues to aggressively grow. Development of Stage 1 to Stage 4 can take a matter of weeks. As the lesion starts very innocently, the disease is often discovered at a late stage, resulting in high mortality. Moreover patients that have had OSCC have a 40% chance of recurrence. When detected early, long-term survival is 80%. However, for recurrent disease there is limited options for non-invasive monitoring of relapse.
In the Netherlands, after a patient is successfully treated for OSCC, one PET scan is performed after 3 months. Further testing is invasive and will only be done if symptoms arise. Due to the aggressive nature of the cancer and the high chance of recurrence within 2 years of treatment, there is a need for non-invasive methods to enable early detection and improve patient outcome and even survival.
ROSCO is a diagnostic test to determine recurrent OSCC from a simple oral brush sample. A gentle brush takes a few cells from the suspected OSCC site, to check for methylation markers of recurrent OSCC. Earlier detection of OSCC recurrence will reduce mortality and reduce operation costs.
A multi-centre trial is currently ongoing in Italy with promising first clinical results. A larger pan-European validation will take place (incl. Italy and The Netherlands) for which we are identifying collaboration partners. Patent applications are pending.
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