Tags: oral | bacteria | pancreatic | cancer

Oral Bacteria Signals Cancer Risk

Tuesday, 25 September 2012 12:50 PM

People with high levels of certain oral bacterial strains have a significantly increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to Brown University research.
The study of blood samples from more than 800 Europeans, published in the journal Gut, found those with high antibody levels for one of the more infectious periodontal bacterium strains – known as Porphyromonas gingivalis – had double the risk for developing pancreatic cancer.
Researchers also found individuals with high levels of antibodies for other kinds of harmless oral bacteria faced a 45-percent lower risk of pancreatic cancer.
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"The relative increase in risk from smoking is not much bigger than two," said Brown University epidemiologist Dominique Michaud. "If this is a real effect size of two, then potential impact of this finding is really significant."
Pancreatic cancer, which is difficult to detect and kills most patients within six months of diagnosis, causes 40,000 deaths a year in the United States.
Past studies have linked periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer. The Gut paper is the first to test whether antibodies for oral bacteria are indicators of pancreatic cancer risk.
"The impact of immune defense against … bacteria undeniably plays a role," said co-researcher Jacques Izard, of the Forsyth Institute and Harvard University. "We need to further investigate the importance of bacteria in pancreatic cancer beyond the associated risk."
The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

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People with certain oral bacterial strains have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 12:50 PM
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