Pancreatic cancer can be found early

Detect pancreatic cancer early: watch your tongue

Pancreatic cancer metastasize quickly and is usually diagnosed late. It is one of the most aggressive tumors; the ten-year survival rate is only one percent. One approach to increasing the success of treatment is early detection. Researchers at Zhejiang University (ZJU) in China have now found a way to diagnose pancreatic cancer at an early stage. They compared the microbiome of the tongue coat and found significant differences in its composition between healthy people and patients with pancreatic cancer.

In previous studies, measurable changes in the bacterial colonization in the saliva, in the intestines and also in the stool of pancreatic cancer patients compared to healthy people were found. In the first analysis to characterize the tongue coat microbiome, the scientists examined 30 affected people in the early stages - with a tumor in the "head area" of the pancreas - and 25 healthy people. All subjects were between 45 and 65 years old and had no oral or dental diseases. Other influencing factors such as antibiotic therapy within the past three months could also be ruled out.

Four types of bacteria make the difference

The researchers used the gene sequencing method to determine the diversity of the tongue microbiome. They found that the bacterial colonization of the tongue of patients with pancreatic cancer differed significantly from that of healthy volunteers. The sick could be characterized by the occurrence of four types of bacteria alone: ​​They had low concentrations of Haemophilus and Porphyromonas and a high density of Leptotrichia and Fusobacteriem.

The scientists now want to investigate their observations further in larger studies. "This could pave the way for the development of new life-saving markers for the early detection of this highly aggressive disease," the study authors hope. Her thesis: It is possible that the immune response to the development of disease in the pancreas favors the growth and spread of certain bacteria. This could be a first step towards microbiome-based early detection of pancreatic cancer, sums up study leader Lanjuan Li. (Red, 7.2.2019)