Comparison of Salivary Electrolytes Profile in Oral Potentially Malignant Disorders and Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Oral Pathology and Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.

2 Graduate Program in Dentistry, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, RS, Brazil.

3 Center of Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Food Sciences, Federal University of Pelotas. Capão do Leão, RS, Brazil.

4 Diagnostic Center for Oral Diseases, Federal University of Pelotas. Pelotas, RS, Brazil.

5 Centro Universitário Ritter dos Reis, UniRitter, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

6 Centro de Oncologia de Precisión-Universidad Mayo, Brazil.


Objectives: to determine salivary electrolyte concentration of oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMD) and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients. A related systematic review was performed. Methods: Observational study. Unstimulated saliva from 18 patients with OSCC, 18 with OPMD, and 18 without oral lesions was collected. A biochemical analysis was performed to evaluate the salivary concentrations of potassium (K), phosphorus (P), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and iron (Fe). Kruskal–Wallis test was performed, and p < 0.05 was interpreted as statistically significant. The literature search for the systematic review retrieved 9 studies that associated salivary electrolyte levels with presence and progression of OSCC. Results: A highly significant increase was found in the salivary Mg levels in the OPMD group (5.41 µg/mL) in comparison with the OSCC (3.71µg/mL) and control group (3.51 µg/mL) (p = 0.041). No differences were observed in other salivary levels elements. The results of the systematic review revealed that one article indicated a decrease, and three papers reported an increase in salivary Na levels in patients with OPMD and OSCC. Two articles indicated a decrease in salivary K levels in OSCC, and the other two reported high Mg levels in OPMD and OSCC. Conclusion: High salivary Mg levels can be a potential biomarker indicating the presence of OPMD, however, the evidence is still contradictory and more studies are required. 


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