Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) Oral bugs may double risks of pancreatic cancer, an extremely lethal and difficult condition to detect, one which last year snuffed out Apple icon Steve Jobs fairly early.
The study of blood samples drawn from more than 800 European adults, revealed that high antibody levels for one of the more infectious periodontal (mouth) bug strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis were linked with a two-fold risk for pancreatic cancer.
Besides, those subjects with high-levels of antibodies for some kinds of harmless commensals (normal bug flora in the mouth) were linked with 45 percent lower risk of pancreatic cancer, which kills most patients within six months of diagnosis, the journal Gut reports.
Several researchers, including Brown University epidemiologist and study co-author Dominique Michaud, have found previous links between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer.
"This is not an established risk factor," said Michaud, who worked with Jacques Izard, of the Forsyth Institute and Harvard University. "But I feel more confident that there is something going on. It's something we need to understand better," Michaud added, according to a Brown University statement.
Izard, a microbiologist, said the importance of bacteria in cancer is growing.
"The impact of immune defence against both commensals and pathogenic (lethal) bacteria undeniably plays a role," he said.
"We need to further investigate the importance of bacteria in pancreatic cancer beyond the associated risk," Izard added.
Michaud and Izard drew on medical records and preserved blood samples collected by the Imperial College-led European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study, a massive dataset of more than 500,000 adults in 10 countries.
Detailed health histories and blood samples are available from more than 380,000 of the participants.