Brush, Floss, Gargle: 3 Steps Can Help Curb Cancer Spread, Say Researchers

Scientists conducted studies focusing on the relationship between the germ, Fusobacterium nucleatum--an oral bacterium--and colon cancer

Chemotherapy and radiation—these we know as the best and popular ways to treat cancer. But as per cancer researchers, there are three practices that can help people, struggling with the disease, to prevent the spread of the disease.

The cancer researchers have been stressing to maintain good oral hygiene as they found that a common mouth germ can help cancer to spread to other parts of the body. The scientists see their findings as significant because 90 percent of the deaths related to the disease is actually caused by the spread of the cancerous cells.

Dividing cancer cell National Cancer Institute / Univ. of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

Fusobacterium Nucleatum, Germ and Colon Cancer

Scientists from all around the world have been trying to find new ways to eliminate the disease without causing more harm to healthy cells and to cure cancer patients. This year, when the world is already struggling to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic, which has caused a massive health crisis, the cancer scientists continued their studies.

The scientists published studies focusing on the relationship between the germ, Fusobacterium nucleatum--an oral bacterium--and colon cancer.

Biochemist Daniel Slade of Virginia Tech worked in one of those studies. As per their finding, published in the journal Science, the colon cancer cells invaded by the germ, inflamed by two proteins called cytokines, and the inflammation in turn causes the cancerous cells to travel.

The study--Fusobacterium nucleatum host-cell binding and invasion induces IL-8 and CXCL1 secretion that drives colorectal cancer cell migration--stated that "infected CRC [colorectal cancer] cells secreted the cytokines IL-8 and CXCL1 that promoted the invasive motility of infected and non-infected cells." As per the research findings, "preventing F. nucleatum invasion of tumor cells may reduce bacterial-associated gut inflammation and metastatic progression in CRC patients."

Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal Cancer Wikimedia commons

This research finding is important in the field of cancer research because colon cancer is considered one of the deadliest types of cancers in all around the world. Other studies, published this year have tied the germ to other cancers--such as pancreas, lung, esophagus, and breast.

As per Slade the link that others have found between gum disease and other illnesses, which include diabetes as well as heart disease, clearly suggests that maintenance of oral hygiene is very important.

This article was first published on October 11, 2020