A dental health breakthrough may provide the basis for an easy and accurate oral cancer test, researchers claim.
Scientists published a map in March that identified more than 1,000 unique proteins that are present in human saliva glands.
Now, a team at UCLA's School of Dentistry has analyzed 64 saliva samples from patients who have a common form of oral cancer.
They determined that there are five protein biomarkers which can accurately predict oral cancer 93 percent of the time.
"We have demonstrated a new approach for cancer biomarker discovery using saliva proteomics," commented Dr Shen Hu, who led the research.
Earlier research at Johns Hopkins University suggested that scientists are close to finalizing a saliva test that could be used to look for mouth and throat cancer in high-risk patients.
The American Dental Association recommends that regular dental checkups are "essential" to help detect oral cancer and dental health problems.
During a checkup, a dentist will examine a patient's mouth to check for symptoms such as red spots or small sores.
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