A novel integrated optical sensor based on a cylindrical microcavity (MC) is proposed. A MC sustains so-called whispering-gallery modes (WGMs), in which the energy of the optical field can be efficiently stored. By monitoring the scattering intensity from the MC, one can detect minute changes in the refractive index of the WGM, for instance, as a result of analyte adsorption. Measurement of a change in refractive index of as little as 1024 is demonstrated experimentally. The MC-based integrated optical sensor may have a size of approximately 8 mm, and it is rugged and inexpensive.