Study suggests that severity of pancreatic tumours influenced by oral bacteria

A study by researchers at the Karolinska Instituet in Sweden has discovered that the presence of oral bacteria in cystic tumours provides a guide to their severity.

It’s an important development because to date, the only effective way of determining how severe the tumour has been to conduct an invasive operation which places a strain on the patient and medical services.

Often these operations take place very late in the diagnosis picture with pancreatic cancers often discovered late when prognosis is generally poor. (Diagnosis is complicated by the fact that not all tumours that occur in the pancreas are cancerous.)

The new detection method relies instead on the fact that oral bacteria is most present “at the stage where the cysts are starting to show signs of cancer”, according to corresponding author Margaret Sällberg Chen, docent and senior lecturer at the Department of Dental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet.

“What we hope is that this can be used as a biomarker for the early identification of the cancerous cysts that need to be surgically removed to cure cancer, this will in turn also reduce the amount of unnecessary surgery of benignant tumours.”

As Science Daily notes “If further studies show that the bacteria actually affects the pathological process it could lead to new therapeutic strategies using antibacterial agents.”

For more on this story, please go to Science Daily

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