A novel study by the Chinese scientists found that tongue bacteria help in the diagnosis of patients with early-stage pancreatic cancer from healthy individuals based on the oral microbiome. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most common deadliest cancers with a lower survival rate. As per the estimates around 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK every year. Out of which, only one percent happen to survive beyond 10 years depicting the drastic situation.
For any cancer, early diagnosis is critical for long time survival of the patients. But unlike other diseases, it is quite difficult to diagnose tumours in the early stages. Majority of the cancers are diagnosed in the advanced stages thereby lowering the survival rate. Although there has been extensive cancer research in place, only a few studies with positive outcomes. For instance, diagnostic pill, artificial mole, and breakthrough breath test offer novel ways for ways for early diagnosis of the deadly disease. Apart from the gut microbiome, oral cavity harbours significant microbiome population. In the current study, the researchers investigated whether the oral microbiome offers cues for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.
Research Behind the Diagnosis of Early Stage Pancreatic Cancer
The team took inspiration from the Ancient Chinese diagnosis, wherein physicians used to assess the condition of the patients by examining the tongue. The tongue of the patient served as a source to assess the condition of various organs. For the study, the team recruited 30 people diagnosed with early stages of pancreatic cancer and 25 healthy individuals. All the subjects aged between 45-65 years and do not have any oral or other health complications. Also, the participants did not take any drugs or antibiotics three months before the study.
The team then set out to locate any significant differences in the microbiome of the cancer patients and the healthy subjects using advanced DNA sequencing technology. The results are compelling and indicated an apparent variation in the four types of microbiome population of the two subjects. The bacteria levels of Leptotrichia, Fusobacterium, Haemophilus and Porphyromonus, are dominant in pancreatic cancer subjects and served as biomarkers. The researchers hypothesised the inflammatory response associated with pancreatic cancer might have triggered a spike in certain microbiome population.
The scope of the study
Lanjuan Li, the lead author of the study, opined that they have to carry additional work and verify the results on large populations. If the results turn to be the same, then the study could pave new ways for the early diagnosis of the early-stage pancreatic cancers.
The Research study is published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology.