C-reactive protein levels: A prognostic marker for patients
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a nonglycosylated pentameric polypeptide comprising 206 amino acid residues. C-reactive protein causes activation of the classical complement pathway by binding to various autologous and extrinsic ligands exposed on membranes of injured, necrotic, or cells undergoing apoptosis. There is evolving evidence that strongly suggests that C-reactive protein is an inflammatory marker and is significantly elevated in patients diagnosed with tumors such as hepatocellular, pulmonary, and breast carcinomas. In addition, serum C-reactive protein level is associated with the size of the tumor (T), clinic-pathological characteristics, and metastasis to lymph nodes.

This study aimed to compare serum CRP levels in potentially malignant disorders and oral malignancies. This cross-sectional prospective study was designed to study serum C-reactive protein levels in patients with oral potentially malignant disorders (leukoplakia and oral submucous fibrosis), patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma, and normal controls. Study participants were divided into four groups: (1) Group I comprising 40 patients with leukoplakia, (2) Group II comprising 40 patients with oral submucous fibrosis, (3) Group III comprising 40 patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma, and (4) Group IV comprising 40 controls. Five milliliters of venous blood was collected after venipuncture from the antecubital vein followed by centrifugation, and serum was separated. This separated serum was analyzed for C-reactive protein levels using the SPINREACT kit and semi-automated biochemical analyzer (Kyoto, Japan).

Mean ± standard deviation values derived were 5.5 ± 4.8 mg/dl (Group I), 6.1 ± 4.9 mg/dl (Group II), 10.5 ± 2.4 mg/dl (Group III), and 2.1 ± 1.6 mg/dl (Group IV), respectively. On applying one-way analysis of variance for comparison of three groups, P < 0.003 was obtained. The results implied that an extremely significant statistical correlation existed between all studied groups when serum C-reactive protein levels were compared. Serum C-reactive protein levels are prognostic markers in oral potentially malignant disorders and oral malignancies.