An overview on current non-invasive diagnostic devices in oral oncology

Marco Mascitti, Giovanna Orsini, Vincenzo Tosco, Riccardo Monterubbianesi, Andrea Balercia, Angelo Putignano, Maurizio Procaccini, Andrea Santarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most common head and neck malignancy, and despite advances in cancer therapies, the overall 5-year survival rate has remained below 50% over the past decades. OSCC is typically preceded by potentially malignant disorders (PMD), but distinguishing high-risk from low-risk PMD is challenging. In the last years, several diagnostic methods as light-based detection systems (LBDS) have been proposed to facilitate the detection of OSCC and PMD. Furthermore, the recent evolution of nanotechnology may provide new opportunities to detect PMD and OSCC at an early stage. Indeed, several preclinical studies showed the potential of nanotechnology to enhance diagnostic accuracy. For these reasons, it is fundamental to conduct studies to evaluate the efficacy of nanotechnology implementation in LBDS. The aim of this article is to review the current literature on LBDS and to provide a summary of the sensitivity and specificity of each technique, and possible future applications of nanotechnologies. The LBDS showed great potential for screening and monitoring oral lesions, but there are several factors that hinder an extensive use of these devices. These devices seem to be useful in assessing lesion margins that must be biopsied. However, to date, conventional oral examination, and tissue biopsy remain the gold standard for OSCC diagnosis. The use of nanotechnologies could be the next step in the evolution of LBDS, thus providing devices that can help clinicians to detect and better monitor oral lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1510
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - Oct 25 2018


  • Autofluorescence
  • Chemiluminescence
  • Early diagnosis
  • Light-based detection system
  • Nanotechnology
  • OSCC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'An overview on current non-invasive diagnostic devices in oral oncology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this