Saliva tests could give doctors a new way to spot and diagnose mouth cancers, a new study suggests.
Reseachers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the United States examined 93 patients with newly-diagnosed head and neck cancers, and found DNA shed from tumours could be measured in both saliva and blood.
Tumour DNA was found in the saliva of 76 per cent of the patients, and in the blood of 87 per cent - and all 46 different kinds of oral cavity, mouth and tongue cancers could be correctly identified through saliva tests.
Blood tests revealed tumour DNA in 91 per cent of oropharynx cancers, 86 per cent of larynx cancers and all three hypopharynx cancers.
Lead researcher Dr Nishant Agrawal said the study could help develop new methods of screening.