Background: Tumor markers, designated as a broad group of substances produced by malignancies, could be in the form of biochemical substances, immunological substances, cell surface changes and genetic alterations. Cancer, a disorder of cellular behavior is characterized by alteration of serum glycoproteins. L-fucose, a hexose, which is the terminal sugar in most of the plasma glycoproteins, may be useful as a tumor marker for the detection, monitoring and prognostic assessment of malignancies. The aim of the study was to ascertain the role of serum fucose as a biomarker for early detection of oral cancer and to compare serum fucose levels in healthy controls, leukoplakia and oral cancer patients. Materials and
Methods: The study included 60 (100.0%) subjects, who were grouped as 20 (33.3%) control subjects, 20 (33.3%) squamous cell carcinoma patients and 20 (33.3%) leukoplakia patients. Fucose estimation was done using UV-visible spectrophotometry based on the method as adopted by Winzler using cysteine reagent. The results were analyzed statistically using ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc tests.
Results: Results showed a high significance in serum fucose in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and leukoplakia subjects compared to normal controls. There was a gradual increase in the values noted from control to leukoplakia and to squamous cell carcinoma.
Conclusions: Estimation of serum fucose may be a reliable marker and can be used as an effective diagnostic biomarker in oral squamous cell carcinoma patients.