Study Links Bacteria That Cause Gum Disease to Esophageal Cancer
A study by researchers at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Center at NYU Langone Health in New York links certain types of bacteria that lead to gum disease (also called periodontal disease) with an increased risk for cancer of the esophagus. Results of this study were published in Cancer Research.
Previous research has shown that gum disease caused by certain types of bacteria is linked to several types of oral and head and neck cancers. For this study, researchers collected oral wash samples from 122,000 participants in the National Cancer Institute Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial and the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition cohort. During the 10-year follow-up period, they that discovered certain types of gum-disease bacteria – Tannerella forsythia and Porphyromonas gingivalis, for example – are associated with a higher risk for esophageal cancer, and Neisseria bacteria is associated with lower risk.
Worldwide, esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death. The disease is often not discovered until it has reached an advanced stage, so five-year survival rates range from about 15 to 25 percent.