Biomarker for Head and Neck Cancer

A non-invasive test, which would allow early diagnosis
Clinic Trial


At Bioithas, through a pilot clinical study with patients with EHNC in which saliva samples were collected, we analysed the diagnostic and prognostic capacity of the salivary microbiota, which, due to its recent known relationship with cell proliferation and tumorigenesis, can be used as a biomarker in EHNC. Certain bacterial genera were identified, the presence or absence of which indicated statistically significant differences between patients with EHNC and healthy controls.

This use of the salivary microbiota composition as a prognostic and diagnostic marker in this disease has been patented by Bioithas (European Patent Application no. 19382253.3), as it has great potential for the development of screening programmes to aid diagnosis in early stages of the disease in high-risk patients and to predict the evolution and follow-up in patients with EHNC, being able to complement the known classic prognostic factors. 

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Epidermoid head and neck cancer (EHNC) is a malignant neoplasm that originates in the epithelium that lines the mucosa of the aerodigestive tract. Its annual incidence of 700,000 patients makes it the sixth most common cancer in the world.


EHNC is often diagnosed in advanced stages of the disease, which gives it a bleak prognosis. It is paradoxical that at present, with the means available, there is no effective programme for the early detection of this type of tumour.


The main aim of this development lies in the search for early or earlier diagnosis than is possible with current means.

It is a non-invasive test, which would allow for early diagnosis, thus improving the prognosis of the disease, increasing the chances of successful treatment and reducing public health costs.


This development is the subject of a European patent application, as well as a PCT extension in several territories which have been selected on the basis of disease prevalence and market opportunities.

A patent licence is is now available for this biomarker created to aid in the early diagnosis of MS.



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