Tuesday March 26, 2019

Presence of Oral Bacteria Associated With Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

To identify the bacteria, the researchers sequenced the DNA of 35 of the samples that had high amounts of bacterial DNA

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A patient for a regular check up of their teeth.
Picture shows a person's teeth being checked upon.

The presence of oral bacteria in cystic pancreatic tumours is associated with the severity of the tumour, a new study suggests.

According to the researcher, the results can help to reappraise the role of bacteria in the development of pancreatic cysts. If further studies show that the bacteria actually affects the pathological process, it could lead to new therapeutic strategies using antibacterial agents.

“We were surprised to find oral bacteria in the pancreas, but it wasn’t totally unexpected. The bacteria we identified has already been shown in an earlier, smaller study to be higher in the saliva of patients with pancreatic cancer,” said co-author Margaret Sallberg Chen from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Not all pancreatic tumours are cancerous. For instance there are so-called cystic pancreatic tumours (pancreatic cysts), many of which are benign. A few can, however, become cancerous, the researcher said.

“We find most bacteria at the stage where the cysts are starting to show signs of cancer,” Chen said.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

“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…” she added.

For the study, published in the journal Gut, the team examined the presence of bacterial DNA in fluid from pancreatic cysts in 105 patients and compared the type and severity of the tumours.

The results showed that the fluid from the cysts with high-grade dysplasia and cancer contained much more bacterial DNA than that from benign cysts.

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To identify the bacteria, the researchers sequenced the DNA of 35 of the samples that had high amounts of bacterial DNA.

They found large variations in the bacterial composition between different individuals, but also a greater presence of certain oral bacteria in fluid and tissue from cysts with high-grade dysplasia and cancer. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Discover Balance of Two Enzymes That May Help Treat Pancreatic Cancer

While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A new research has set the stage for clinicians to potentially use levels of a pancreatic cancer patient’s PHLPP1 and PKC enzymes as a prognostic and for researchers to develop new therapeutic drugs that change the balance of the two enzymes as a means to treat the disease.

The study, published on Wednesday in Molecular Cell, was led by Alexandra Newton, professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and Timothy Baffi, a graduate student in her lab, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new study built on the team’s work in 2015 that found the enzyme PKC, which was believed in previous studies to promote tumour growth, actually suppressed it.

The latest study took the investigation a step further by uncovering how cells regulate PKC activity and discovered that any time an over-active PKC is inadvertently produced, the PHLPP1 “proofreader” tags it for destruction.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

“That means the amount of PHLPP1 in your cells determines your amount of PKC,” Newton said. “And it turns out those enzyme levels are especially important in pancreatic cancer.”

The team observed 105 pancreatic cancer tumours to analyze the enzyme levels in each one. About 50 per cent of patients with low PHLPP1/high PKC lived longer than five-and-a-half years.

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While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment.

Pancreatic cancer is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas, a large gland in the digestive system. It typically doesn’t show symptoms in the early stages. Sufferers tend to develop signs, such as back pain and jaundice, when it has spread to other organs. (IANS)