MicroRNA in human saliva may help diagnose oral cancer

Aug 25, 2009

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, according to a report in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"It is a Holy Grail of 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 ," said Jennifer Grandis, M.D., professor of 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 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.

Wong and colleagues measured microRNA levels in the saliva of 50 patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma and 50 healthy control patients. They detected approximately 50 microRNAs.

Two specific microRNAs, miR-125a and miR-200a, were present at significantly lower levels in patients with than in the healthier controls.

Wong said that the findings of this study would have to be confirmed by a larger and longer analysis.

Source: American Association for Cancer Research (news : web)

Explore further: Study identifies genes linked to breast cancer in East Asian women

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Absence of CLP protein can be indicative of oral cancer

Jan 07, 2009

Human calmodulin-like protein (CLP) is found in many cell types including breast, thyroid, prostate, kidney, and skin. The protein can regulate many cell activities and has a highly specific expression. Gaining an understanding ...

Molecules may help predict survival in liver cancer

Jan 30, 2008

Tiny molecules that help cells regulate which proteins they make might one day help doctors predict which liver-cancer patients are likely to live longer than others, new research suggests.

Recommended for you

Statin use decreases the risk of Barrett's esophagus

10 minutes ago

Statins, a class of drugs commonly used to lower cholesterol levels, significantly reduce a patient's risk of developing Barrett's esophagus, according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the Americ ...

User comments : 0