Malignancy associated changes in epithelial cells of buccal mucosa: a potential cancer detection test

Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 2005 Oct;27(5):254-62.


Objective: To analyze the presence of malignancy associated changes (MACs) in normal buccal mucosa cells of lung and breast cancer patients and their relationship to tumor subtype, stage and size.

Study design: Buccal mucosa smears of 107 lung cancer and 100 breast cancer patients and corresponding healthy subjects were collected, stained by the DNA-specific Feulgen-thionin method and scanned using an automated high-resolution cytometer. Nuclear texture features of a minimum of 500 nuclei per slide were calculated, and statistical classifiers using Gaussian models of class-probability distribution were designed, trained and tested in 3 parts: (1) ability to separate cancer patient samples from controls, (2) cross-validation of classifiers for different cancer types, and (3) correlation of MAC expression with tumor subtype, stage and size.

Results: Lung and breast cancer induce MACs in normal buccal mucosa cells. The classifiers based on the selected nuclear features correctly recognized >80% of lung and breast cancer cases. The results indicate that MAC detection is not dependent on the tumor subtype, stage or size.

Conclusion: The presence of MACs in buccal mucosa cells offers the potential for developing a new noninvasive cancer screening test.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / classification
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / classification
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • ROC Curve