Certain oral microbiota linked to pancreatic cancer, study finds

This research was originally published in 2019 by Cheryl Xia.

We have curated this article as a reference point for The Larkin Protocol.


A large case-controlled study shows the association between human oral microbiota and pancreatic cancer risk.

Pancreatic cancer is the 12th most commonly occurring cancer worldwide and the 7th leading cause of cancer-related death. Due to its high lethality, the five-year survival rate is estimated to be 24% at early diagnosis and 1.8% by advanced-stage diagnosis. Prevention strategies for pancreatic cancer are imperative, however, the etiology of this disease is poorly understood. Cigarette smoking is one of the few established risk factors that has been linked to cancer development. Other modifiable exposures include obesity, diabetes, and chronic pancreatitis that are often seen in pancreatic cancer patients. Of interest, recent research has associated periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, with increased pancreatic cancer risk.

Oral health and disease are closely tied to changes in oral microbial status. The oral microbiome consists of over 700 species of bacteria that colonize the human mouth. Distinct oral microbial ecosystems have been characterized for conditions like gingivitis and dental caries. Specific microbes, including Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, have been implicated in periodontal disease etiology. This evidence suggests that changes in oral microbiota may mediate the relationship between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer risk. To date, few robust epidemiological studies have been conducted examining the relationship between oral microbes and pancreatic cancer.

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