UIC LogoAmong all the cases of oral cancer, more than 90 percent of oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, usually triggering on the gums, floor of the mouth, or tongue. Apparently this form of cancer is not well understood and new discoveries can probably enable scientists to determine potential treatment for the ailment. A groundbreaking research commenced by the University of Illinois at Chicago affirms the gene controlling cancer cell migration to regulate the spread of cancer cells in the tongue.

It was ascertained that tongue squamous cell carcinoma one of the most commonly identified oral cancer has raised by around 37 percent in people. Among all the deaths registered due to cancer, a total of 4 percent is probably from oral cancer. And 10 percent deaths were registered due to tongue squamous cell carcinoma.

Survival rate can supposedly be boosted by examining tumor invasion and the way cancer spreads. Detailed investigations may also help scientists to identify the disease in its early stages itself and come up with appropriate therapies to overcome the fatal disease. Prior inspections discovering modified genes promoting the aggressive nature of tongue squamous cell carcinoma, have concentrated on protein-encoding genes. While conducting the research, the experts thoroughly scrutinized a noncoding gene known as microRNA-138.

Xiaofeng Charles Zhou, assistant professor in the UIC Center for Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases and lead investigator of the research revealed that microRNAs are tiny, noncoding RNA molecules regulating the expression of a target gene after the intermediary message for the gene has been transcribed into RNA. The scientists suggest various microRNAs to stimulate the spread of different forms of cancer. Decreased level of microRNA-138 may be linked with promoted ability of tongue squamous cell carcinoma cells to spread. However, further research on genomic aberrations related to noncoding genes and their additions to cancer initiation and progression should be undertaken.

The research is published in the August issue of the International Journal of Cancer.