Study: VELscope helps reduce oral cancer recurrence rates

The VELscope screening system from LED Dental can help surgeons reduce the recurrence rate for oral cancer following surgery, according to a recent study in Cancer Prevention Research (May 2009, Vol. 2:5, pp. 401-404).

The article, "Tracing the 'At-Risk' Oral Mucosa Field with Autofluorescence: Steps Toward Clinical Impact" was authored by Catherine Poh, D.D.S., Ph.D.; Calum MacAulay, Ph.D., M.Sc.; and Miriam Rosin, Ph.D.; of the BC Cancer Agency and Lewei Zhang, B.D.S., Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia.

They examined the experience of 60 oral cancer surgery patients between 2004 and 2008 whose lesions were treated with surgical excision alone, with a minimum follow-up time of 12 months. For 38 of the 60 patients, the surgeon used a surgical margin that was 10 mm beyond the tumor edge defined by the VELscope exam. (Because the VELscope system utilizes fluorescence visualization (FV), these patients are described in the article as having had FV-guided surgery.)

The remaining 22 patients -- the control group -- did not have FV-guided surgery; instead, the surgeon used a surgical margin that was 10 mm beyond the tumor edge defined by the standard white light exam. White light exams rely on visual inspection with the naked eye, whereas the VELscope system allows clinicians to discover cancerous and precancerous tissue that might not be apparent to the naked eye.

Four years into the study, severe dysplasia or more serious tumors have recurred in 7, or 32%, of the 22 control group patients. In contrast, none of the 38 FV-guided group patients has suffered a recurrence of severe dysplasia or more serious tumors, including cancer.

"The VELscope system is the first adjunctive device cleared by both the FDA and Health Canada to help surgeons determine the appropriate surgical margin," said Ralph Green, D.D.S., M.B.A., president and CEO of LED Dental's parent, LED Medical Diagnostics. "While the findings of this study are not surprising, it is nonetheless gratifying to have these respected researchers report that absolutely zero of the 38 oral cancer patients whose surgical margins were determined using the VELscope system has experienced a recurrence of this deadly and disfiguring disease."

Numerous other studies, as well as extensive feedback from our users, have documented the ability of the VELscope system to help dental practitioners discover cancerous and precancerous lesions that otherwise would have been missed, Dr. Green added. "This new study suggests that in addition to enhancing the detection of oral cancer, the VELscope system can help ensure that all targeted diseased tissue is removed when surgical excision is indicated."

Since its introduction, more than 4,500 VELscope systems have been sold worldwide, and more than 4.5 million VELscope examinations have been conducted, according to LED Dental. The company estimates that more than 3 million examinations will be conducted this year.

Copyright © 2009

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