A recent study involved oral cancer screenings for 85 male and female patients considered to be at risk for oral cancer. All patients were examined in two ways: a conventional clinical examination, consisting of palpation of the face and neck and an unassisted visual inspection of the oral cavity; and an examination of the oral cavity using a tissue fluorescence visualization technology (VELscope® Vx) to help detect abnormal oral tissue.(1)
While the conventional exam was able to detect a small number of cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions it was the combination of the conventional and VELscope® Vx exam that produced better results. The exam that incorporated fluorescence detected 13 lesions that were biopsy-confirmed to be either malignant or pre-malignant, 5 of which were missed by the conventional exam. The tissue fluorescence exam increased the number of cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions detected by 62.5 percent.
The results support the value of using adjunctive devices for Clinical Oral Examination (COE).
The distinctive blue-spectrum light of the hand-held device causes the soft tissues of the mouth to naturally fluoresce. Healthy tissues fluoresce in distinct patterns that are visibly disrupted by trauma or disease, such as neoplastic lesions, and fungal, viral or bacterial infections.
Chair and Professor of Oral Medicine at the University of Washington’s School of Dentistry, Edmond Truelove DMD, MSD recently offered his comments about the VELscope system.
“I have found VELscope to be a very useful addition to the diagnostic methods used for the detection and management of oral dysplastic and malignant lesions. In the year that I have used the VELscope there have been several occasions where its use allowed detection of malignant or dysplastic oral lesions when clinical suspicion of the lesion was very low or nonexistent.”
(1) HZ Marzouki, Vi Vu T Tuong, R Ywakim, P Chauvin, J Hanley,KM Kost. ‘Use of Fluorescent Light in Detecting Malignant and Premalignant Lesions in the Oral Cavity: A Prospective, Single-Blind Study – Journal of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, June 2012’, (Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC, USA)