Future Imaging Alternatives: The Clinical Non-invasive Modalities in Diagnosis of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC)

Esam Omar*
Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Dentistry, Taibah University, Saudi Arabia

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© Esam Omar; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Dentistry, Taibah University, Saudi Arabia; Tel: 00966569536708; Fax: 009661484947; E-mail:


Background : Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) has a remarkably high incidence worldwide, and a fairly serious prognosis. This is encouraging further research into advanced technologies for non-invasive methods of making early diagnoses, ideally in primary care settings. Method : In this article, the available objective Non-imaging methods for diagnosing OSCC have been reviewed. MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and CINAHL have been searched for advanced technologies of non-invasive methods in diagnosis of OSCC, including oral brush biopsy, optical biopsy, saliva-based oral cancer diagnosis and others. Results : Toluidine blue, one of the oldest non-invasive methods for diagnosing OSCC, is unreliable because of its subjectivity, as it is dependent on the experience of the examiner. The diagnosis of Oral carcinoma by Oral brush biopsy with exfoliative cytology based on nano-bio-chip sensor platform shows 97–100% sensitivity and 86% specificity. Another promising non-invasive technique for OSCC diagnosis is saliva-based oral cancer diagnosis, which is an alternative to serum testing. Optical biopsy, which uses the technology of spectroscopy, can be used to detect changes at a sub-cellular level; thus, it provides information that may not be available with conventional histology with reliable sensitivity and specificity. Conclusion : It is clearly evident that screening and early effective detection of cancer and pre-cancerous lesions have the potential to reduce the morbidity and mortality of this disease. The imaging technologies are subjective procedures since all of them require interpretation and significantly affected by the examiner experience. These make further research for advanced objective procedures. Saliva-based oral cancer diagnosis and optical biopsy are promising objective non-invasive methods for diagnosing OSCC. They are easy to perform clinically at primary care set. They show promising pathways for future development of more effective method for the diagnosis of OSCC.

Keywords: Non-invasive methods, optical biopsy, Oral Cancer, saliva based diagnosis.