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Letters to the Editor
December 2001

Chromosomal Aneuploidy as a Predictor for Poor Outcome in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001;127(12):1519-1520. doi:

It has been well established that the presence of microscopic cancer in surgical margins reduces local control of disease, decreases patient survival, and exposes the patient to additional morbidity if reoperation of the margin is undertaken.1 In a previous study we demonstrated significant levels of chromosome aneuploidy in 10 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays.2 There was similar imbalance, although in lower frequency, in clinically normal adjacent mucosa of all patients. We postulated that the detection of aneuploidy by interphase FISH assay enhances the routine histopathological assessment and proposed the use of chromosome instability (CI) as a biomarker for the screening of tumor margins and identification of routine disease. Recently, DNA ploidy has been used to predict risk of oral carcinoma in patients with oral leukoplakia.3

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