(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – The Malignancy Index Diagnostic System (qMIDS) test quantitatively diagnosed and objectively stratified cancer aggressiveness in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), investigators reported in the International Journal of Cancer October 4.

The qMIDS test measures 14 FOXM1 (isoform B)-associated genes implicated in the regulation of the cell cycle, differentiation, aging, genomic stability, epigenetic and stem cell renewal, and two reference genes, which are then converted via a diagnostic algorithm into a “malignancy index” that quantifies risk of the lesion becoming cancerous, noted Muy-Teck Teh, PhD, of the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary, University of London, London, UK, lead investigator and inventor of the test.

The test requires a 1-2 mm piece of tissue and takes <3 hours to complete, compared to up to a week for standard histopathology, the current diagnostic gold standard.

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The qMIDS was tested on 359 head and neck tissue specimens from 299 patients in the UK and Norway. Median qMIDS scores in healthy tissue, dysplasia, and HNSCC, respectively, were 1.3, 2.9, and 6.7 in the UK prospective dataset (P<0.001) and 1.4, 2.3, and 7.6 in unaffected, oral lichen planus, or HNSCC in the Norwegian retrospective dataset with up to 19 years of survival data (P<0.001).

At a qMIDS cut-off of 4.0, detection rate was 91% and the false-positive rate, 1.3% in the UK dataset and, in the Norwegian dataset, 94% and 3.2%.

“We further demonstrated the transferability of qMIDS for diagnosing (pre)-malignant human vulva (n=58) and skin (n=21) SCCs, illustrating its potential clinical use for other cancer types,” Dr. Teh noted.

“With further validation, qMIDS could enable early HNSCC detection and guide appropriate treatment,” he added. “Early treatment intervention can lead to long-term reduction in healthcare costs and improve patient outcome.”

The study was jointly funded by the Facial Surgery Research Foundation – Saving Faces (UK), the Bergen Medical Research Foundation, Norwegian Cancer Research Association, British Skin Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

Link to abstract: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.27886/abstract