Recurrent chromosomal and epigenetic alterations in oral squamous cell carcinoma and its putative premalignant condition oral lichen planus.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) affects about 700.000 individuals per year worldwide with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) as a major subcategory. Despite a comprehensive treatment concept including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy the 5-year survival rate is still only about 50 percent. Chronic inflammation is one of the hallmarks of carcinogenesis. Until now, little is known about the premalignant status of oral lichen planus (OLP) and molecular alterations in OLP are still poorly characterized. Our study aims to delineate differential DNA methylation patterns in OLP, OSCC, and normal oral mucosa. By applying a bead chip approach, we identified altered chromosomal patterns characteristic for OSCC while finding no recurrent alterations in OLP. In contrast, we identified numerous alterations in the DNA methylation pattern in OLP, as compared to normal controls, that were also present in OSCC. Our data support the hypothesis that OLP is a precursor lesion of OSCC sharing multiple epigenetic alterations with OSCC.
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