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Use of electrical impedance spectroscopy to detect malignant and potentially malignant oral lesions

Authors Murdoch C, Brown BH, Hearnden V, Speight PM, D'Apice K, Hegarty AM, Tidy JA, Healey TJ, Highfield PE, Thornhill MH

Received 14 March 2014

Accepted for publication 3 May 2014

Published 23 September 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 4521—4532

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S64087

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Craig Murdoch,1 Brian H Brown,6 Vanessa Hearnden,1 Paul M Speight,3 Katy D’Apice,1,2 Anne M Hegarty,2 John A Tidy,4 T Jamie Healey,5 Peter E Highfield,7 Martin H Thornhill1,2

1Unit of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Surgery, University of Sheffield School of Clinical Dentistry, Sheffield, United Kingdom; 2Unit of Oral Medicine, Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust, Sheffield, United Kingdom; 3Unit of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, University of Sheffield School of Clinical Dentistry, Sheffield, United Kingdom; 4Department of Gynaecological Oncology, 5Department of Medical Physics, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, United Kingdom; 6University of Sheffield Medical School, Beech Hill Road, Sheffield, United Kingdom; 7Zilico Ltd., The MedTECH Centre, Rutherford House, Manchester Science Park, Manchester, United Kingdom

Abstract: The electrical properties of tissues depend on their architecture and cellular composition. We have previously shown that changes in electrical impedance can be used to differentiate between different degrees of cervical dysplasia and cancer of the cervix. In this proof-of-concept study, we aimed to determine whether electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) could distinguish between normal oral mucosa; benign, potentially malignant lesions (PML); and oral cancer. EIS data were collected from oral cancer (n=10), PML (n=27), and benign (n=10) lesions. EIS from lesions was compared with the EIS reading from the normal mucosa on the contralateral side of the mouth or with reference spectra from mucosal sites of control subjects (n=51). Healthy controls displayed significant differences in the EIS obtained from different oral sites. In addition, there were significant differences in the EIS of cancer and high-risk PML versus low-risk PML and controls. There was no significant difference between benign lesions and normal controls. Study subjects also deemed the EIS procedure considerably less painful and more convenient than the scalpel biopsy procedure. EIS shows promise at distinguishing among malignant, PML, and normal oral mucosa and has the potential to be developed into a clinical diagnostic tool.

Keywords: oral cancer, head and neck cancer, potentially malignant lesions, dysplasia, impedance spectroscopy

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