Early detection of oral cancer is possible now with the discovery of a biomarker called human beta defensin-3 (hBD-3), researchers say.
Oral cancer first appears as white or red lesions in the mouth, the same as non-cancerous lesions.
Early detection is difficult to detect, until it spreads to other organs.
HBD-3 is only found in the basal layer where oral cancers grow and is present when the cancerous tumour progresses. The study revealed that it assists the cancer growth.
The researcher plans to continue studying the role of hBDs in oral health and to develop diagnostic tools that use the biomarker to detect early cancer.
The research is published in PLoS ONE.