Salivary protein and solCD44 levels as a potential screening tool for early detection of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Elizabeth J. Franzmann, Erika P. Reategui, Lutecia H.Mateus Pereira, Felipe Pedroso, Debbie Joseph, Glenn O. Allen, Kara Hamilton, Isildinha Reis, Robert Duncan, W. Jarrard Goodwin, Jennifer J. Hu, Vinata B. Lokeshwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Background Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a devastating disease usually diagnosed at a late stage when cure rates are 40%. We examined a simple and inexpensive molecular tool that may aid HNSCC detection. Methods Building on prior findings that total protein levels are elevated in 102 HNSCC cases versus 84 control subjects, we further analyzed these levels with respect to important risk and demographic variables and compared the results to soluble CD44 (solCD44). Using multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARSs)-logit modeling and logistic regression, we determined whether total protein, solCD44, or the combination best identifies HNSCC. Results Combined higher levels of solCD44 and protein were significantly associated with HNSCC (odds ratio [OR] = 24.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 9.04-68.57; area under the curve [AUC] = 0.786). A model including protein plus solCD44 resulted in a better area (AUC 0.796) than either marker alone. Conclusion Oral rinse levels of solCD44 and protein seem to hold promise for detection of HNSCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-695
Number of pages9
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • ELISA assay
  • head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • protein
  • soluble CD44
  • upper aerodigestive tract

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

Cite this