VELScope System Can Help Reduce Recurrence of Oral Cancer


Study Suggests VELscope System Can Help Reduce Recurrence of Oral Cancer. 

WHITE ROCK, British Columbia—July 23, 2009—LED Dental Inc. announced today that a recent study suggests that its VELscope screening system can help surgeons reduce the recurrence rate for oral cancer following surgery. The article, “Tracing the ‘At-Risk’ Oral Mucosa Field with Autofluorescence: Steps Toward Clinical Impact,” was just published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. It was authored by Catherine F. Poh, Calum E. MacAulay and Miriam Rosin of the BC Cancer Agency and Lewei Zhang of the University of British Columbia.

The study was prompted by numerous previous studies showing that oral cancer recurs in a significant percentage of patients following oral cancer surgery. The study examined the experience of 60 oral cancer surgery patients between 2004 and 2008. Their cancerous 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, or FV, technology, 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.” Dr. Green added, “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. 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.”

Oral cancer claims the life of one North American every hour of every day. Despite the reduction in the use of tobacco products, it is one of the few types of cancer that has not experienced a significant reduction in the number of victims over the past several decades. Recent studies suggest that the reason is a link between oral cancer and the sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus, or HPV. As a result, many health experts recommend that all adults receive oral cancer examinations on at least an annual basis.