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AACR: Pancreatic Cancer Linked to Gum Disease

Men with periodontal disease have 63 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer

TUESDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Periodontal disease may raise the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting, held in Boston.

Dominique Michaud, Sc.D., of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 52,000 men aged 40 to 75 who were highly educated health professionals, and during a 16-year follow-up period found 216 cases of pancreatic cancer.

After adjusting for confounding factors such as smoking, diabetes, age, physical activity and diet, the data showed that men who also had periodontal disease were 63 percent more likely than their gum disease-free counterparts to have pancreatic cancer. Men with periodontal disease and tooth loss within the last four years raised their risk of developing pancreatic cancer by more than 2.5-fold compared to those with recent tooth loss, but without periodontal disease.

The potential mechanism for the link was the high amount of bacteria in the mouth and gut of those with periodontal disease, as well as higher amounts of nitrosamines, which have previously been proposed as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.

"Establishing whether periodontal disease increases the risk and understanding the mechanisms behind these associations are important because we know so little about pancreatic cancer," Michaud said in a statement.

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