Periodontitis-causing bacteria could trigger cancer

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Periodontitis-causing bacteria could trigger cancer


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Researchers just found that the primary virulence factor bacteria associated with periodontitis, an enzyme, occurs also in malignant tumours of the gastrointestinal tract, for example, in pancreatic cancer. (Image: Marcelo Ricardo Daros/ Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Tue. 23 January 2018


HELSINKI, Finland: Researchers in Finland have investigated the role of a bacterium strongly associated with periodontitis in the development of oral and certain other cancers. In a second study, they also found a link between periodontitis and cancer mortality at the population level.

The first study has for the first time proved the existence of a mechanism at the molecular level through which a bacterium associated with periodontitis, Treponema denticola, may also contribute to carcinogenesis. The researchers found that the primary virulence factor of T. denticola, chymotrypsin-like proteinase, occurs also in malignant tumours of the gastrointestinal tract, for example in pancreatic cancer. According to another study finding, the enzyme has the ability to activate the enzymes that cancer cells use to invade healthy tissue. At the same time, the proteinase diminished the effectiveness of the immune system by, for example, inactivating molecules known as enzyme inhibitors.

In the second study, it was proved that periodontitis is clearly associated with cancer mortality at the population level. An especially strong link to mortality due to pancreatic cancer was found. Some 70,000 Finns took part in this ten-year follow-up study.

“These studies have demonstrated for the first time that the virulence factors of the central pathogenic bacteria underlying gum disease are able to spread from the mouth to other parts of the body, most likely in conjunction with the bacteria, and take part in central mechanisms of tissue destruction related to cancer,” said Prof. Timo Sorsa of the University of Helsinki.

The researchers concluded that low-grade systemic inflammation related to periodontitis facilitates the spread of oral bacteria and their virulence factors to other parts of the body. They pointed out that the prevention and early diagnosis of periodontitis are very important, both for patients’ oral health and their overall well-being.

“In the long run, this is extremely cost-effective for society,” noted Sorsa.

The studies were conducted by research groups led by Sorsa, Prof. Caj Haglund, Dr Jari Haukka and Dr Jaana Hagström of the University of Helsinki.

The first study, titled “Treponema denticola chymotrypsin-like proteinase may contribute to orodigestive carcinogenesis through immunomodulation”, was published online on 16 November 2017 in the British Journal of Cancer. The second study, titled “Periodontitis and cancer mortality: Register-based cohort study of 68 273 adults in 10-year follow-up”, was published online on 11 January 2018 in the International Journal of Cancer.

Further studies are already ongoing at both the University of Helsinki and Karolinska Institutet.

One thought on “Periodontitis-causing bacteria could trigger cancer

  1. Dr. Benno Raddatz says:

    For me it was clear that spirochetes are the cause of many diseases: heart disease, Alzheimer,
    multiple sclerosis, intratestinal cancer (in all patho-histology spirochetes can be found). 10 year ago I specialised in bad breath and halithosis (as a dentist) and I found the deeper the dental pocket the more spirochetes could be found. The problem with modern medicine is, that spirochetes can´t be seen under a regular microscope but youll need a phase contrast microscope.
    As to my knowledge only some laboratories are using phase contrast microscopy on a regular base.
    The second drawback wih spirochetes is, that they are not detected by th immune system, but they hide
    masking themselves.
    Regarding intstinal cancer genesis just look on the multiple toxic gases spirochetes produce !

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