Diagnostic Accuracy of Salivary Biomarkers in Detecting Early Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Document Type : Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sinhgad Dental College and Hospital, Pune 411041, Maharashtra, India.

2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, D Y Patil (Deemed to be University) School of Dentistry, Nerul, Navi Mumbai-400706, Maharashtra, India.


Background: Biopsy is the gold standard for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) diagnosis. Salivary biomarkers provide promising complementary alternative diagnostic adjunct for its simple non- invasive collection and technique and to screen large population. Objective: To summarize and compare the existing evidence on diagnostic accuracy of salivary biomarkers with their estimation method in detecting early oral squamous cell carcinoma. Methods: The review protocol is registered under PROSPERO(CRD42021225704). PubMed, Google Scholar, EBSCOhost were searched from 2000 to 2020 to identify the screening potential of eight salivary biomarkers: mRNA, miRNA, DUSP100, s100P, IL-8, IL-1B, TNF-a and MMP-9. True-positive, false-positive, true-negative, false-negative, sensitivity, specificity values were extracted or calculated if not present for each study. Quality of selected studies was evaluated based on QUADAS 2 tool. Meta-analysis was performed using a bivariate model parameter for the sensitivity and specificity and summary points, summary receiver operating curve (SROC), confidence region, and prediction region were calculated. Results: Eighteen studies were included for qualitative synthesis and out of that 13 for meta-analysis. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated with AUC. For mRNA it was 91% and 90% with 0.96 AUC, miRNA had 91% and 91% with 0.95 AUC for PCR. IL-1B had 46% and 60% with 0.61 AUC, S100p had 45% and 90% with 0.57 AUC for ELISA. IL-8 had 54% and 74% for ELISA and 89% and 90% for PCR with 0.79 AUC and DUSP1 had 32% and 87% for ELISA and 76% and 83% for PCR with 0.83 AUC respectively. Conclusion: Early detection of OSCC was best achieved by screening for salivary mRNA and miRNA estimated by PCR. Further investigation is required into salivary RNA as novel biomarkers and these salivary biomarkers may be potentially used for non-invasive diagnosis of early OSCC.


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