Oral cancer may be detected without biopsy, claim Indian researchers


A team of researchers at India’s King George’s Medical University (KGMU) have come one step closer to detecting oral cancer without performing a biopsy.

Prof Divya Mehrotra

A biopsy is an invasive procedure that confirms the diagnosis of cancer.

The research team at KGMU has been able to locate certain biomarkers in the blood and saliva of people suffering from oral cancer.

Biomarkers are naturally occurring molecules by which a particular disease can be identified.

“The first study is on the BCL2 and HSP 70 biomarkers. We conducted the study on 300 cancer and pre-cancerous patients. Blood samples of the two sample groups were mixed which led us to conclude that we can detect cancer through these biomarkers. This will reduce the constant need to conduct a biopsy,” said Prof Divya Mehrotra from the department of oral maxillofacial surgery at KGMU.

The KGMU researchers have also been studying the role of Vitamin A in cancer treatment.

The study, tasked with finding the role of Vitamin A in cancer treatment, was conducted on 250 oral cancer patients.

“We studied the role of Vitamin A and its related markers on these patients and found that if the enzyme breaking down Vitamin A is not properly functional, there are high chances of such people getting oral cancer. Such patients also do not respond too well to antioxidant vitamins in their treatment,” Mehrotra added.