The oral microbiota in patients with pancreatic cancer, patients with IPMNs, and controls: a pilot study

Cancer Causes Control. 2017 Sep;28(9):959-969. doi: 10.1007/s10552-017-0933-8. Epub 2017 Jul 31.


Purpose: Poor oral health appears to be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer, possibly implicating the oral microbiota. In this pilot study, we evaluated the characteristics of the oral microbiota in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN), and healthy controls.

Methods: Forty newly diagnosed PDAC patients, 39 IPMN patients, and 58 controls, excluding current smokers and users of antibiotics, provided saliva samples. Common oral bacterial species were comprehensively surveyed by sequencing of the 16S rRNA microbial genes. We obtained measures of diversity and the mean relative proportions of individual taxa. We explored the degree to which these measures differed according to respondent characteristics based on individual interviews.

Results: PDAC cases did not differ in diversity measures from either controls or IPMN cases. PDAC cases had higher mean relative proportions of Firmicutes and related taxa, while controls had higher mean relative proportions of Proteobacteria and related taxa. Results were generally similar when comparing PDAC to IPMN cases. Among IPMNs and controls combined, younger individuals had higher levels of several taxa within the Proteobacteria. The only other variable consistently related to mean relative proportions was mouthwash use, with taxa within Firmicutes more common among users.

Conclusions: While there were no differences in diversity of the oral microbiota among these groups, there were differences in the mean relative proportions of some taxa. Characteristics of the oral microbiota are not associated with most measures of oral health.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms; Oral microbiota; Pancreatic cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S