Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston can identify and quantify specific protein markers in human saliva to provide an early, non-invasive diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published in today’s issue of the journal Cancer Investigation. “Why not the dentist?” said lead researcher Charles Streckfus, D.D.S., . “Most folks, especially women and children, visit the dental office way more often than they ever see the physician. Saliva is a non-invasive, quicker way for detection.” Streckfus and his team compared the levels of expression of proteins in the saliva of patients with either malignant or benign tumors to saliva from normal controls to find those that are abnormally expressed in the diseased state. Patients’ proteins that are significantly higher or lower than the norm were considered biomarker candidates. Streckfus and his collaborators are continuing to pursue salivary diagnostics for other types of cancer, such as ovarian, endometrial, cervical and head and neck cancers.