Bacteria link to cancer uncovered

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Particular types of mouth bacteria could be linked to the development of one of the UK’s most deadly cancers, research suggests.

Pancreatic cancer is frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage and kills 80 per cent of people in under a year. Only five per cent of patients are still alive five years after diagnosis.

Experts writing in the journal Gut say particular types of mouth bacteria, some of which are found in gum disease, are associated with the development of the disease.

The team, led by experts from the University of California Los Angeles’ school of medicine, are now investigating whether checking the balance of bacteria in the mouth could act as a diagnostic tool for the cancer.

Their small study compared the bacteria found in the saliva of 10 patients with pancreatic cancer which had not yet spread and 10 healthy people.

They found that cancer patients had an extra 31 species of mouth bacteria compared to healthy people, but 25 fewer other types.

They then checked saliva samples from a further 28 pancreatic cancer patients and 28 healthy people to verify the findings.