Cancer Research UK welcomes study into RNA test for mouth cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

News that American researchers are developing a saliva test for mouth cancer has been welcomed by Cancer Research UK. Developed at the UCLA School of Dentistry in California, the test is ready to be used in clinical tests. If the test reaches the market they could allow more cancers to be caught in the early stages, significantly increasing the chance of survival. There are around 4,400 new cases of mouth cancer diagnosed in the UK. The proposed saliva test detects RNA, a type of molecule related to DNA which carries messages inside cells. Certain RNAs are only produced when cancer is present.

The use of saliva instead of a blood test or a tissue sample makes the test less uncomfortable and quicker to carry out.

Henry Scowcroft, science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "Early detection of cancer can greatly increase a person's chances of survival. The use of RNA to detect cancer is a potential advance in technology, particularly using a non-invasive saliva test.

"The UCLA team have produced some promising early results, and it will be important to see if this test proves to be reliable in a larger number of patients."

Dr David Wong, professor in oral biology and medicine at UCLA, said: "Our motivation in investigating the saliva signature for oral cancer was to create a simple yet highly accurate way to detect this disease early enough in its progression to aid in avoiding such outcomes."

Cancer Research UK's Open Up To Mouth Cancer awareness campaign