The team used saliva as a non-invasive sample source to identify specific protein biomarkers which indicate breast and ovarian cancer
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee have identified a new method of detecting breast and ovarian cancers, two of the worst forms of cancer, which are responsible for approximately one third of all cancers that occur in women and one fifth of all cancer related deaths worldwide. The research published in the journal, ‘FASEB Bioadvances’ details the use of whole saliva as a body fluid for early detection of breast and ovarian cancers, as opposed to the traditional method of using blood samples. The research team led by Prof Kiran Ambatipudi from the Biotechnology Department at IIT Roorkee have got a breakthrough in identifying certain proteins present in the saliva, which act as potential biomarkers indicative of breast and ovarian cancer metastasis.
The team compared the samples from healthy individuals against the samples collected from stage IV breast and ovarian cancer patients and ovarian cancer patients who had undergone atleast three cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The salivary proteins were analysed by mass spectrometry indicative of pathophysiology of breast and ovarian cancers and were compared to healthy and ovarian chemotherapy subjects. Collectively, 646 proteins were identified, of which 409 proteins were confidently identified across all four groups. In addition to 409 identified proteins, 352 proteins were common in all groups, while 57 were either present/absent exclusively in one group or common in any two/three groups.
Speaking about the research, Prof Ambatipudi said, “Due to the heterogeneous and asymptomatic nature of breast and ovarian cancers, their early detection has been difficult using traditional methods such as mammography, blood flow patterns by colour–flow doppler imaging and transvaginal ultrasound examination, due to high diagnostic costs and radiation exposure. Our attempt was to utilise saliva as a non-invasive sample source to identify specific protein biomarkers, which indicate breast and ovarian cancer metastasis. In patients who have undergone three cycles of chemotherapy, the salivary proteins can also act as an indicator of the patient’s response to chemotherapy.”
“Although it is essential to clinically validate these proteins in a large cohort of subjects but the results of the present study serve as an initial step towards the development of saliva-based clinical tests.”, he added