Byproducts of gum disease bacteria can incite oral cancer growth

February 28, 2014 -- Byproducts in the form of small-chain fatty acids from two bacteria prevalent in periodontal disease incite the growth of deadly Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-related oral lesions and tumors, according to a new study by researchers from Case Western Reserve University (Journal of Virology, February 5, 2014).

The discovery could lead to early saliva testing for the bacteria, which, if found, could be treated and monitored for signs of cancer and before a malignancy develops, according to the researchers.

"These new findings provide one of the first looks at how the periodontal bacteria create a unique microenvironment in the oral cavity that contributes to the replication the Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) and development of KS," said lead study investigator Fengchun Ye, PhD, from the Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine Department of Biological Sciences, in a press release.

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