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Dental Disease and Pancreatic Cancer?

Three separate recent studies year suggest a modest but definite relationship between bacteria that are associated with periodontal / oral disease and pancreatic cancer (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas).

The largest and most recently published research primarily by European (and some American) researchers reported out recently in the December, 2013 issue of the medical journal Gut in a matched control study, found 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, 2012 New York University scientists had reported in the journal Carcinogenesis a relationship between the bacteria “Porphyromonas gingivalis” and digestive cancers including possibly for pancreatic cancer.

And UCLA researchers in the April, 2012 issue (also) in the journal Gut detailed associations between variation in human salivary bacteria and pancreatic cancer.

Not only might this help in further establishing associations with for pancreatic cancer, but perhaps highlights saliva as a possible target for biomarkers aimed at screening and earlier diagnosis.

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Dale O’Brien, MD