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Oral Dis. 2011 May;17(4):345-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-0825.2010.01773.x. Epub 2010 Dec 2.

Saliva: diagnostics and therapeutic perspectives.

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School of Dentistry and Dental Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


For the past two decades, salivary diagnostic approaches have been developed to monitor oral diseases such as periodontal diseases and to assess caries risk. Recently, the combination of emerging biotechnologies and salivary diagnostics has extended the range of saliva-based diagnostics from the oral cavity to the whole physiologic system as most compounds found in blood are also present in saliva. Accordingly, saliva can reflect the physiologic state of the body, including emotional, endocrinal, nutritional and metabolic variations and acts as a source for the monitoring of oral and also systemic health. This review presents an update on the status of saliva diagnostics and delves into their applications to the discovery of biomarkers for cancer detection and therapeutic applications. Translating scientific findings of nucleic acids, proteins and metabolites in body fluids to clinical applications is a cumbersome and challenging journey. Our research group is pursuing the biology of salivary analytes and the development of technologies for detection of distinct biomarkers with high sensitivity and specificity. The avenue of saliva diagnostics incorporating transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic findings will enable us to connect salivary molecular analytes to monitor therapies, therapeutic outcomes, and finally disease progression in cancer.

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