Different frequencies of Streptococcus anginosus infection in oral cancer and esophageal cancer

Cancer Sci. 2003 Jun;94(6):492-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2003.tb01471.x.


Multiple cancers frequently occur in the upper aerodigestive tract. The high incidence rate of multiple carcinomas in this region is often explained in terms of involvement of the same underlying risk factors. It has been reported that the oral bacterium Streptococcus anginosus (S. anginosus) is associated with esophageal, gastric, and pharyngeal cancer tissues. In this study, a highly specific quantification method for S. anginosus DNA using real-time PCR was established. We employed this assay to determine whether S. anginosus is also associated with oral cancer tissues. This precise quantification method revealed different degrees of infection with S. anginosus in esophageal cancer and oral cancer. We assayed 10 ng of genomic DNA from cancer tissues, and found that eight of 18 samples (44%) from the esophagus contained a detectable level (>10 fg) of S. anginosus DNA, whereas this was the case for only five of 38 samples (13%) of oral cancer. The quantity of S. anginosus DNA in the esophageal cancer tissues was significantly higher than in oral cancer. The maximum amount of S. anginosus DNA was approximately ten times higher in esophageal than in oral cancer tissues. In addition, none of the five different oral cancer sites (floor of the mouth, mandibular gingival, maxillary gingival, buccal mucosal, and tongue) showed significant signs of S. anginosus infection. On the other hand, most non-cancerous tissues of the esophagus and tongue showed an undetectable level of S. anginosus. These results suggest that S. anginosus is associated with esophageal cancer, but is not closely related with oral cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mouth Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Streptococcus anginosus / genetics*
  • Streptococcus anginosus / isolation & purification


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Neoplasm