Article Highlight | 6-Jun-2022

Simple blood test may allow for early detection of oral cancer


The current 60% five-year survival rate of individuals with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC)—a type of cancer of the mouth and throat—could be greatly improved if treatments were initiated as early as possible. In a study published in Natural Sciences, researchers used a technology called conductive polymer spray ionization mass spectrometry to screen the blood for metabolic signs of OSCC. The method could accurately distinguish between individuals with and without OSCC.  

Also, two altered lipid markers that were discovered in the blood could be traced back to the cancer site for guiding surgical margin assessments. 

The method—which requires only a single drop of blood—could also distinguish between patients with early versus later stages of OSCC.  

“This study represents the fruits of research involving the United States and China, in which all the participants believed that the results would be a win for both countries and for the world as a whole, an idea that seems alas to be disappearing in these times of mutual suspicion and distrust of international collaborations,” said co–corresponding author Richard N, Zare, PhD, of Stanford University. 

The author of an accompanying Research Highlight noted that the study “is a perfect showcase for how mass spectrometry-based metabolomics workflows can be simplified to make them usable in clinical applications.” 

URL Upon Publication: 

Additional Information 

NOTE: The information contained in this release is protected by copyright. Please include journal attribution in all coverage. For more information or to obtain a PDF of any study, please contact:

Dawn Peters +1 781-388-8408 (US)
Follow us on Twitter @WileyNews

About the Journal

Natural Sciences is an interdisciplinary open access journal publishing top-tier research from biology, chemistry, physics and their interfaces. The journal is orchestrated by active researchers and is committed to open science principles.

About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in research and education, unlocking human potential by enabling discovery, powering education, and shaping workforces. For over 200 years, Wiley has fueled the world’s knowledge ecosystem. Today, our high-impact content, platforms, and services help researchers, learners, institutions, and corporations achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. Visit us at, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.