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Saliva Contains Markers Useful for Cancer Detection

Last Updated: August 28, 2009.

Saliva contains many stable microRNAs, and two of these are present at much lower levels in patients with oral cancer, and could be used for cancer detection, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in Clinical Cancer Research.

FRIDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Saliva contains many stable microRNAs (miRNAs), and two of these are present at much lower levels in patients with oral cancer, and could be used for cancer detection, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in Clinical Cancer Research.

Noh Jin Park, Ph.D., from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues measured 314 miRNAs in the saliva of 12 healthy people, then validated the miRNAs in 50 patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma and 50 matched healthy controls.

The researchers identified approximately 50 miRNAs in both whole and supernatant saliva. Saliva from patients with cancer had significantly lower levels of two miRNAs, miR-125a and miR-200a, compared with matched controls. Degradation of endogenous saliva miRNA was much slower than exogenous miRNA, according to the study.

"Both whole and supernatant saliva of healthy controls contained dozens of miRNAs, and similar to saliva mRNAs, these miRNAs are stable," Park and colleagues conclude. "Saliva miRNAs can be used for oral cancer detection."

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