Bacteria in saliva may help diagnose cancer

Even bacteria present in a person’s saliva can help doctors identify pancreatic cancer and other pan-creatic 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 pa-tients 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 pancre-atic 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 ma-jority 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 pan-creatic cancer, 13 with pancreatic disease, 22 with other forms of cancer and 10 disease free. Results showed that patients diagnosed with pan-creatic cancer had higher levels of two particular oral bacteria, Leptotrichia and Campylobacter.