Diagnostic and prognostic value of salivary biomarkers in oral cancer and precancer: Review article

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Salivary biomarker constitute major progress in diagnosis of oral cancer and is a rapidly developing arena of scientific research and is considered a promising prognostic and diagnostic utensil in oral malignant and oral potentially malignant disorders. The search for salivary biomarkers that may have importance in diagnosis, and prognosis of oral cancer is ongoing.


A literature search was performed using the Cochrane library and PubMed databases from 1995 to September 2019.


In the recent biological era “omics” method is a new biomarker detection tool that emphasis on exploring many molecules present in saliva. Presently, five main salivary diagnostic constituents are recognized; genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and microbiomics. Recent systematic reviews with high value of evidence have shown that salivary biomarkers analysis can be an excellent primary screening tool for the high-risk cases of oral cancer, and that combining these biomarkers with conventional tools could provide more potent diagnostic values for early detection of oral precancer and cancer.


Combination of multiple biomarker candidates in prompt detection of oral precancer and cancer is preferred to improve accuracy, sensitivity, and reliability. This can bring salivaomics to clinical point-of-care applications. Clinical relevance: The use of salivary biomarkers is beneficial in screening of high-risk cases and is available for practitioners to apply into their clinical practice. Key words: saliva, biomarkers, detection, cancer, salivaomics, premalignant.

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