APR 21, 2016 01:15 PM PDT

Oral Microbiome Influences Pancreatic Cancer Risks

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
3 8 1828
Bad oral hygiene may influence a person’s risks of developing pancreatic cancer, say NYU cancer researchers. While gum disease and poor oral health have been linked to pancreatic cancer, this study is the first to implicate two microorganisms in the development of this deadly disease. The work was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans this past week.
Another reason to strive for good oral hygiene!
Pancreatic cancer is notoriously deadly because the disease progresses silently and diagnosis happens when the cancer has already spread. It’s estimated that of the 53,000 Americans who will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, almost 79 percent will succumb from the disease.
 
A team of researchers from NYU Langone’s Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center set out to explore the relationship between pancreatic cancer and oral health. They compared the bacterial contents in mouthwash samples from 732 people for 10 years. During this time, 361 people were diagnosed with the disease, while 371 people served as matched controls.  
 
They found a correlation between pancreatic cancer and the presence of two types of bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, which commonly cause gum disease and periodontitis (gum inflammation).
 
 
Compared to people whose samples didn’t have either of the microorganisms, people who had P. gingivalis had a 59 percent increase, and people who had A.  actinomycetemcomitans had a 50 percent increase in overall pancreatic cancer risks.
 
"Our study offers the first direct evidence that specific changes in the microbial mix in the mouth - the oral microbiome - represent a likely risk factor for pancreatic cancer along with older age, male gender, smoking, African-American race, and a family history of the disease," said Jiyoung Ahn, epidemiologist and Associate Professor at NYU, and senior study author.
 
The authors say their study has diagnostic potential for pancreatic cancer, which currently has no routine screening procedures in place. "These bacterial changes in the mouth could potentially show us who is most at risk of developing pancreatic cancer,” said Ahn.
 
It is important to note that good oral health does not preclude pancreatic cancer, but having a healthy mouth is good for your overall wellness. Good oral hygiene practices include daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and regular dental checkups.

Additional sources: NYU Langone, MNT
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
APR 23, 2018
Cancer
APR 23, 2018
UroSEEK: Early Bladder and Urothelial Cancer Urine Screening Test Developed to Complement Urine Cytology
New, non-invasive urine screening test called UroSEEK was developed by Johns Hopkins to detect low grade bladder and urothelial cancers using DNA detection methods and technology.
APR 25, 2018
Cancer
APR 25, 2018
Artificial Mole Tattoo for Early Cancer Detection
Researchers are looking to biotechnology to enhance the detection of diseases including cancer. A group utilized the consistent presence of long-term hypercalcemia to detect early cancer.
MAY 01, 2018
Clinical & Molecular DX
MAY 01, 2018
Ditching Mammograms for Dye-Based Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Move over, mammograms. University of Michigan scientists have a new solution for diagnosing breast cancer that’s possibly more accurate, less invasiv
MAY 08, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
MAY 08, 2018
Will Oilseed Be Your New Sunscreen?
"DNA damage is the precursor to photocarcinogenesis, and these derivatives reduce that damage, which means improved skin health and reduced cancer risk."
MAY 26, 2018
Clinical & Molecular DX
MAY 26, 2018
Calculate Your Risk For Lung Cancer
A new tool may help reduce the use of CT scans in lung cancer detection, which can cause harm.
JUL 17, 2018
Cancer
JUL 17, 2018
Immunotherapy Diversification: From CAR-T cells to CAR-NK cells
New advances have made it possible for immunotherapy researchers to use natural killer cells, which are our body's normal defense for cancerous cells, to target tumors.
Loading Comments...