Detection of mucosal abnormalities in patients with oral cancer using a photodynamic technique: A pilot study

Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2008 Jan;46(1):6-10. doi: 10.1016/j.bjoms.2007.05.009. Epub 2007 Sep 7.


Patients who have had one oral cancer are at increased risk of developing a further malignant tumour, the detection of which is made difficult (and is often delayed) by the innocuous appearance of the early oral lesion. A technique that could reliably detect early cancers would be useful to both oral and dental health specialists. We describe a pilot study in which we used a compact spectroscopic instrument designed to excite and measure fluorescence in the oral cavity. The data were processed using principal components analysis, and the results suggest that the technique might be valuable for detecting early oral cancers. Further work should be performed to investigate some unusual characteristics observed within our data to ascertain if these are significant, simply due to errors made due data collection, or are due to other lifestyle factors. Such work could also verify that the data are due to detection of ALA metabolite in cancer and not some other systemic effect.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aminolevulinic Acid*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Photosensitizing Agents*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Aminolevulinic Acid