Canadian Research Team Analyzes Early-Stage Oral Cancer



The University of British Columbia’s Faculties of Medicine, Science and Dentistry are compiling a study involving patients who undergo surgery for oral squamous cell cancers.

The Canadian Optically Guided Approach for Oral Lesions Surgical Trial study could provide innovative information for clinical practices throughout the world.

In 2010, about 1,150 of the 3,400 Canadians diagnosed with oral cancer died. There are also roughly 30 percent of the patients who undergo oral surgery that see their cancer return. The point of this study is to analyze fluorescence visualization to determine which tissues are healthy and which tissues may have tumors or be precancerous.

The $4.7 million study is being funded by the Terry Fox Research Institute.

The results so far are indicating that there is almost no recurrence of oral cancer after surgery followed the contour of the lesion shown by FV-guided surgery.

Information generated will only add to the current knowledge of oral cancer and aid in creating a possible cure at some point in the future. If the study pans out the way the investigators believe it will, the amount of deaths from oral cancer will decrease, as well as the quality of life for people that live with oral cancer.

The study’s main investigators include Dr. Catherine Poh, a senior scientist with BC Cancer Agency, an associate professor at the UBC Faculty of Dentistry and a consulting dentist at Vancouver General Hospital; Dr. Scott Durham, head of the division of otolaryngology at Vancouver General Hospital and a clinical professor at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine; Dr. Miriam Rosin, a senior scientist with the BC Cancer Agency who holds joint appointments at UBC and Simon Fraser University; Calum Macaulay, a clinical associate professor at the UBC Faculty of Medicine and an associate member in Medical Physics in the UBC Faculty of Science; and Stuart Peacock, an associate professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine.