Introduction: The oral microbiome plays a role in the instigation of oral diseases that have been linked to various systemic conditions of humans. This study explored oral microbiome fluctuations and their association with oral cavity (OCC) and oropharyngeal cancers (OPC) .
Methods: The study cohort consists of normal healthy controls (n = 10, between 20 to 30 years of age; n = 10, above 50 years of age), high-risk individuals (n = 11, above 50 years of age with bad oral hygiene and/or oral diseases) and OCC and OPC patients (n = 31, HPV-positive; n = 21, HPV-negative). Oral rinse samples were analysed using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing on the MiSeq platform. Kruskal-Wallis rank test was used to identify genera associated with OCC and OPC. A logistic regression analysis was carried out to determine the performance of these genera as a biomarker panel to predict OCC and OPC . In addition, a two-fold cross-validation with a bootstrap procedure was carried out in R to investigate how well the panel would perform in an emulated clinical scenario .
Results: Our data indicate that the oral microbiome is able to predict the presence of OCC and OPC with sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 90%, respectively.
Conclusion: With further validation, the panel could potentially be implemented into clinical workflow as OCC and OPC diagnostic and prognostic biomonitors.