"It is a Holy Grail of cancer detection to be able to measure the presence of a cancer without a biopsy, so it is very appealing to think that we could detect a cancer-specific marker in a patient's saliva," said Jennifer Grandis, M.D., professor of otolaryngology and pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Cancer Institute and a senior editor of Clinical Cancer Research
MicroRNAs are molecules produced in cells that have the ability to simultaneously control activity and assess the behavior of multiple genes. They are a thriving research topic right now, and researchers believe they could hold the key to early detection of cancer. The emergence of a microRNA profile in saliva represents a major step forward in the early detection of oral cancer.
"The oral cavity is a mirror to systemic health, and many diseases that develop in other parts of the body have an oral manifestation," said David T. Wong, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., Felix and Mildred Yip Endowed Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry.