Finding distinctions between oral cancer and periodontitis using saliva metabolites and machine learning

Oral Dis. 2021 Apr;27(3):484-493. doi: 10.1111/odi.13591. Epub 2020 Sep 7.


Objective: The aim of this research is the study of metabolic pathways related to oral cancer and periodontitis along with development of machine-learning model for elucidation of these diseases based on saliva metabolites of patients.

Methods: Data mining, metabolomic pathways analysis, study of metabolite-gene networks related to these diseases. Machine-learning and deep-learning methods for development of the model for recognition of oral cancer versus periodontitis, using patients' saliva.

Results: The most accurate classifications between oral cancer and periodontitis were performed using neural networks, logistic regression and stochastic gradient descent confirmed by the separate 10-fold cross-validations. The best results were achieved by the deep-learning neural network with the TensorFlow program. Accuracy of the resulting model was 79.54%. The other methods, which did not rely on deep learning, were able to achieve comparable, although slightly worse results with respect to accuracy.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate a possibility to distinguish oral cancer from periodontal disease by analysis the saliva metabolites of a patient, using machine-learning methods. These findings may be useful in the development of a non-invasive method to aid care providers in determining between oral cancer and periodontitis quickly and effectively.

Keywords: biomarkers; machine learning; metabolic networks; metabolomics; oral cancer; periodontitis.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Machine Learning
  • Metabolomics
  • Mouth Neoplasms*
  • Periodontitis*
  • Saliva