Martijn Clausen: Tumor methylation markers and clinical outcome of primary oral squamous cell carcinomas. Exploring the OSCC Methylome
In the Netherlands annually about 1500 new patients are diagnosed with tumours in the oral cavity. Half of these patients have metastases in the lymph nodes in the neck which often remain undetected. Because these lymph node metastases significantly reduce the survival chances of these patients, intensive treatment is required. However, only 60-70% of the metastases are discovered on time. Additionally, some patients unnecessarily receive this intensive treatment.
It is possible to predict the presence of these lymph node metastases using the oral cavity tumour tissue. Martijn Clausen investigated specific changes in the DNA of these oral cavity tumours. He discovered several aberrations in multiple genes that predict the presence of lymph node metastases.
His findings could contribute to improved diagnoses and treatment which will increase the survival rate and quality of life of these patients. In some patients a successfully treated oral cavity tumor resurfaces or a second tumor appears.
The DNA of these tumours is detectable in saliva.
Clausen showed that structural aberrations in the tumor DNA in saliva can be used to predict the presence of oral cavity tumours in these patients. Such a saliva test would be less cumbersome for patients. Martijn Clausen (1986) studied Life Science & Technology and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Groningen. He performed his research at the University Medical Centre Groningen at the departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Pathology. Currently he is employed at MRC Holland as a Bioinformatician and Product Developer.