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Diseased gums and esophageal cancer

 Are your gums sick? You could be at an increased risk for esophageal cancer.

Diseased gums and esophageal cancer

More and more studies are linking periodontal disease to cancer. For example, it has been confirmed that almost two-thirds of patients with a type of esophageal cancer have a characteristic periodontal pathogen. 

The esophagus is a critical muscular tube in the passage of food from the oral cavity to the stomach.
the oral cavity to the stomach, with two main cell types that are implicated in the two main types of esophageal cancer: adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

It is thought that the connection between diseased gums and esophageal cancer may derive from the systemic inflammation that occurs in response to periodontitis, which causes an increase in different inflammatory proteins, which are often also linked to the complex alterations that occur in the development of cancer.
Researchers at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry (USA) have found a periodontopathogenic bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in 61% of patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Specifically, they have determined that both the presence of an enzyme specific to this pathogen and traces of its DNA could be found in the cancerous tissue, but not in the healthy esophageal tissue of control patients.

This finding suggests two possible explanations: either esophageal cancer cells are a preferred niche for the pathogen to multiply, or Porphyromonas gingivalis facilitates the development of esophageal cancer. In the latter case, the future implications could be enormous, although many studies are still needed to be able to reproduce these results and to understand what is the real connection between this periodontal pathogen and esophageal cancer. Even so, the limitations of the study must be taken into account and we must not lose sight of the need for further solid scientific research to support the results shown.

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