DALLAS – A low-cost , in a clinical study of 92 people.
“Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, but it’s the only major cancer whose outcome has not improved in the last 50 years,” study author, said in an interview following the annual conference of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery Inc. “The main challenge is that over two-thirds of oral cancers are detected after they’ve metastasized. When you get spread like that, your survival is about 20% at 5 years, whereas if you detect it before spread, your survival is about 80% at 5 years.”
At the meeting, Vania Firmalino, an undergraduate student at the University of California, Irvine, discussed efforts by Dr. Wilder-Smith,, of the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and their colleagues to develop and evaluate the screening performance of a novel, low-cost smartphone-based mini probe for oral cancer screening and oral potentially premalignant lesions (OPMLs). The device provides high-resolution polarized white light images in combination with autofluorescence (AF) imaging capability.
The researchers found that inter-subject variation at each location was small, but inter-site differences were considerable. For example, optical data from OPMLs and oral cancer sites differed from normal with regard to white-light reflectance intensities, vascular homogeneity, and standard deviation. The AF signal in OPMLs and oral cancers shifted progressively to the red, together with a diminished green fluorescence signal. The cloud-based diagnostic algorithm based on these properties performed well, with an agreement with standard-of-care diagnosis of 80.6%.
“Artificial intelligence improves with data,” said Dr. Wilder-Smith, who is also a senior fellow at the university’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We trained this system on about 200 images. When you’re up to 1,000 images per condition, that’s when you really start to get the benefits of artificial intelligence and machine learning. There’s huge potential here, especially when you think that 40% of the world’s risk for oral cancer is in India, which has good cell phone coverage. India also has a government-financed public health program whereby they already send health care workers to the remote areas of India to screen for basic diseases.”