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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Oncology - Otolaryngology

Comparison of Promoter Hypermethylation Pattern in Salivary Rinses Collected with and without an Exfoliating Brush from Patients with HNSCC
Published: Friday, March 16, 2012
Author: Wenyue Sun et al.

by Wenyue Sun, David Zaboli, Yan Liu, Demetri Arnaoutakis, Tanbir Khan, Hao Wang, Wayne Koch, Zubair Khan, Joseph A. Califano


Salivary rinses have been recently proposed as a valuable resource for the development of epigenetic biomarkers for detection and monitoring of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Both salivary rinses collected with and without an exfoliating brush from patients with HNSCC are used in detection of promoter hypermethylation, yet their correlation of promoter hypermethylation has not been evaluated. This study was to evaluate the concordance of promoter hypermethylation between salivary rinses collected with and without an exfoliating brush from patients with HNSCC.


57 paired salivary rinses collected with or without an exfoliating brush from identical HNSCC patients were evaluated for promoter hypermethylation status using Quantitative Methylation-Specific PCR. Target tumor suppressor gene promoter regions were selected based on our previous studies describing a panel for HNSCC screening and surveillance, including P16, CCNA1, DCC, TIMP3, MGMT, DAPK and MINT31.

Principal Findings

In salivary rinses collected with and without brush, frequent methylation was detected in P16 (8.8% vs. 5.2%), CCNA1 (26.3% vs. 22.8%), DCC (33.3% vs. 29.8%), TIMP3 (31.6% vs. 36.8%), MGMT (29.8% vs. 38.6%), DAPK (14.0% vs. 19.2%), and MINT31 (10.5% vs. 8.8%). Spearman's rank correlation coefficient showed a positive correlation between salivary rinses collected with and without brush for P16 (??=?0.79), CCNA1 (??=?0.61), DCC (??=?0.58), TIMP3 (??=?0.10), MGMT (??=?0.70), DAPK (??=?0.51) and MINT31 (??=?0.72) (P<0.01). The percent agreement of promoter methylation between salivary rinses with brush and without brush were 96.5% for P16, 82.5% for CCNA1, 78.9% for DCC, 59.7% for TIMP3, 84.2% for MGMT, 84.2% for DAPK, and 94.7% for MINT31.


Our study demonstrated strong correlations of gene promoter hypermethylation between salivary rinses collected with and without an exfoliating brush. Salivary rinse collection without using an exfoliating brush may offer a cost effective, rapid, non-invasive, and reliable means for development of epigenetic salivary rinse biomarkers.