The tongue could help detect early pancreatic cancer


If confirmed in larger studies, this could pave the way for the development of new tools for early detection or prevention.

O differences in the abundance of certain bacteria living on the tongue They can distinguish patients with early pancreatic cancers from healthy individuals, according to the results of a new study that is detailed in an article published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology.

Although alterations have been identified in the microbiome (population of microorganisms that live inside and inside our body) in patients with pancreatic cancer in other tissues of the body, is the first evidence of changes in bacteria in the lining of the tongue.

If this is confirmed in larger studies, this could pave the way for the development of new tools for early detection or prevention to save the life of this highly aggressive disease.

About 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year, and less than 1% survive for more than 10 years.

a Early diagnosis can significantly improve chances of treatment success, but this poses challenges for this pathology, as it grows in the back of the body and often, shows few symptoms before it spreads. As a result, most patients already have advanced pathology when seeking medical help.

O scientists are looking for biological changes that can accurately detect the early signs of pancreatic cancer, which could become new screening tests. A current hot topic is the potential role of the microbiome in the development of cancer, with previous studies that identify dramatic changes of bacteria in saliva, intestinal and fecal samples obtained from patients with pancreatic cancer compared to healthy individuals.

In this study, to characterize the lingual microbiome of pancreatic cancer patients, a team of researchers recruited a group of 30 patients with early stage disease (diagnosed with a tumor located in the "head" area of ​​the pancreas) and a similar group of 25 healthy people. Participants were between 45 and 65 years of age, had no other diseases or oral health problems and had not taken antibiotics or other medications during the three months prior to the study.


The team used sophisticated gene sequencing technologies to examine the diversity of microbiomas from the tongue envelope samples, and found that the Patients with pancreatic cancer were colonized by remarkably different lingual coating microbiomas in comparison with healthy individuals.

The main author, Lanjuan Li, from the University of Zhenjiang, China, goals: "Although more confirmatory studies are needed, our results add to the growing evidence of an association between microbiome abnormalities and pancreatic cancer."

Surprisingly enough, the abundance of four types of bacteria (low levels of Haemophilus and Porphyromonas and high levels of Leptotrichia and Fusobacterium & # 39; πŸ˜‰ can distinguish patients with pancreatic cancer from healthy individuals. "If an association between discriminant bacteria and pancreatic cancer is confirmed in larger studies, this may lead to the development of new preventive or diagnostic tools for disease-based microbiomas," says Li.

The research team hypothesizes that the immune system is the most likely link between any confirmed changes in the microbiome with pancreatic cancer, the development of a disease in the pancreas can influence the immune response in order to favor the growth of certain bacteria, or vice versa. If it is tested, this can bases for the development of new treatment strategies including antibiotics or immunotherapies, or even probiotics that may help prevent pancreatic cancer in high-risk patients in the future


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