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Salivary bacteria as indicators of oral cancer?

Patients suffering from oral cancer have increased levels of certain bacteria in their saliva, according to new research published today in the Open Access journal, Journal of Translational Medicine. Six common species of bacteria were found at significantly higher levels in the saliva of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) than in the saliva of healthy individuals. The researchers were able to use three of the six species as a diagnostic tool to predict more than 80% of oral cancer cases. These preliminary findings indicate that three species of bacteria may be incidentally or causally linked with OSCC, and if so detection of these species could be used as a simple, rapid and non-invasive saliva-test to diagnose oral cancer.

Previous studies have reported that certain common oral bacteria are often found on or in oral cancer lesions. Though previous research has reported that the microbiota of OSCC lesions differs from that found on the soft tissues of cancer-free individuals, little is known about the salivary microbiota of oral cancer patients. Currently, studies are examining whether bacteria may be incidentally or causally associated with oral cancer and if so, whether these species may be used as markers for oral cancer.

In order to determine if the salivary microbiota in patients with OSCC would differ from that found in oral cancer-free individuals, Donna Mager and colleagues, from the Forsyth Institute and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, United States, collected saliva samples from 45 individuals diagnosed with OSCC and 229 controls. A computer then matched a subset of 45 members of the control group for age, gender and smoking with the 45 OSCC subjects. The saliva samples were then individually analysed for their content of forty bacterial species using bacterial DNA probes.

Comparisons between controls and the 45 OSCC patients showed that six common bacteria Prevotella melaninogenica, Capnocytophaga g
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Contact: Juliette Savin
press@biomedcentral.com
44-207-631-9931
BioMed Central
6-Jul-2005


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