Circulating tumor-derived DNA may permit the early diagnosis of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas

Int J Cancer. 2001 Apr 15;92(2):214-9. doi: 10.1002/1097-0215(200102)9999:9999<::aid-ijc1176>;2-c.


A series of eight microsatellite loci were assayed for both loss of heterozygosity and new mutated alleles in 91 head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. In 58 cases, alterations were detected and used as markers for assaying the presence of circulating tumor-derived DNA in the patients' plasma. This was unambiguously detected in 17 cases. The probability of detecting circulating DNA was independent of tumor stage and was found to be present even in some individuals with stage I tumors. The presence of such DNA, however, could not be correlated with disease outcome or other significant clinical parameters, suggesting that it has no prognostic significance. The results indicate that circulating tumor-derived DNA could be used as a means of early diagnosis of head and neck tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / blood
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / blood*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / blood
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Microsatellite Repeats


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm