"Those with pancreatic cancer also had lower levels of Streptococcus, Treponema and Veillonella form of bacteria."
New York, May 19 - Even bacteria present in a person's saliva can help doctors identify pancreatic cancer and other pancreatic diseases, a promising study indicates.

Patients with pancreatic cancer have a different and distinct profile of specific bacteria in their saliva compared to healthy controls and even patients with other cancers or pancreatic diseases, researchers claimed.

The findings suggest that ratios of particular types of bacteria found in saliva may be indicative of pancreatic cancer, said Pedro Torres from San Diego State University in the US.

Patients diagnosed in the early stages of pancreatic cancer have a five-year survival rate of 21.5 percent.

Unfortunately symptoms do not appear until after the cancer has become untreatable in the vast majority of cases, Torres cautioned.

In the study, Torres and his team compared the diversity of saliva bacteria across 131 patients, 63 female and 68 male.

Of these patients, 14 had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, 13 with pancreatic disease, 22 with other forms of cancer and 10 disease free.

Results showed that patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer had higher levels of two particular oral bacteria, Leptotrichia and Campylobacter.

Those with pancreatic cancer also had lower levels of Streptococcus, Treponema and Veillonella form of bacteria.

We may be able to detect pancreatic cancer at its early stages by taking individuals' saliva and looking at the ratios of these bacteria, Torres told the gathering at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology recently.


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