A report in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research has revealed that researchers continue to add to the diagnostic alphabet of saliva by identifying the presence of at least 50 microRNAs that could aid in the detection of oral cancer.
"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.