Increased plasma and salivary cortisol levels in patients with oral cancer and their association with clinical stage

J Clin Pathol 65:934-939 doi:10.1136/jclinpath-2012-200695


Objectives Dysregulation of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis has been observed in patients with cancer. This cross-sectional study investigated whether patients with oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) show changes in cortisol levels in saliva and plasma compared with three control groups, and evaluated its correlation with clinicopathological data.
Methods Salivary and plasma cortisol levels of 34 patients with oral SCC were compared with hormonal levels of 17 oropharyngeal SCC patients, 17 oral leukoplakia patients, 27 smokers and/or drinkers and 25 healthy volunteers. Multivariate analysis was used to evaluate the impact of clinical variables on the cortisol levels.
Results The plasma (p<0 .05=".05" advanced-stage="advanced-stage" age="age" alcohol="alcohol" all="all" an="an" and="and" awareness="awareness" cancer="cancer" clinical="clinical" compared="compared" consumption="consumption" cortisol="cortisol" diagnosis="diagnosis" drinkers="drinkers" effect="effect" groups.="groups." had="had" higher="higher" in="in" initial="initial" leukoplakia="leukoplakia" levels.="levels." levels="levels" men="men" no="no" of="of" on="on" or="or" oral="oral" oropharyngeal="oropharyngeal" p="p" patients="patients" presence="presence" salivary="salivary" scc="scc" showed="showed" significant="significant" significantly="significantly" smokers="smokers" smoking="smoking" stage.="stage." teeth="teeth" than="than" those="those" were="were" with="with" women="women">
Conclusions These results indicate a dysregulation of cortisol secretion in patients with oral cancer and suggest that this hormone can be a biomarker associated with the disease's clinical status.


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