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Dental disease and pancreatic cancer ?

Three separate studies this year suggest a modest but definite relationship between bacteria that are associated with periodontal / oral disease and pancreatic cancer.

The largest published research primarily by European (and some American) researchers reported out recently in the medical journal Gut in a matched control study – found particularly that those with a high level of antibodies against the periodontal bacteria “Porphyromonas gingivalis ATTC 53978” had twice the risk of pancreatic cancer as compared with controls.

In May of this year New York University scientists reported in the journal Carcinogenesis a relationship between the bacteria “Porphyromonas gingivalis” and digestive cancers including possibly for pancreatic cancer.

And UCLA researchers this April also in Gut found associations between variation in patient salivary bacteria and pancreatic cancer.

Not only might this help in further establishing causes for pancreatic cancer, but indicates that saliva may be a good target for trying to find biomarkers for screening and earlier diagnosis.


Dale O’Brien, MD

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