Oral Dis 2019 Oct 23;25(7):1707-1714. Epub 2019 Jul 23.
Division of Oral Medicine and Dentistry, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.
Objectives: To identify molecular characteristics of keratosis of unknown significance and to nominate pathways of molecular progression to oral cancer. Our work could provide a rationale for monitoring and treating these lesions definitively.
Methods: Patients with oral leukoplakia were eligible for our prospective observational study. We correlated alterations in cancer-associated genes with clinical and histopathologic variables (keratosis of unknown significance vs. moderate-to-severe dysplasia) and compared these alterations to a previously molecularly characterized oral cancer population.
Results: Of 20 enrolled patients, 13 (65%) had evidence of keratosis of unknown significance, while seven (35%) had dysplasia. Nine patients (45%) developed oral cancer (4/13 with keratosis of unknown significance, 5/7 with dysplasia). At a median follow-up of 67 (range 22-144) months, median overall survival was significantly shorter for patients with dysplasia (hazard ratio 0.11, p = .02). KMT2C and TP53 alterations were most frequent (75% and 35%, respectively). There were molecular similarities between keratosis of unknown significance and dysplasia patients, with no significant differences in mutational frequency among genes with ≥15% rate of alteration.
Conclusions: Among patients with leukoplakia, both patients with keratosis of unknown significance and patients with dysplasia developed oral cancer. Molecular alterations between these two groups were similar at this sample size.