Patients with pancreatic cancer have a different and distinct profile of specific bacteria in their saliva compared to healthy controls and even patients with other cancers or pancreatic diseases, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. These findings could form the basis for a test to diagnose the disease in its early stages.
“Our studies suggest that ratios of particular types of bacteria found in saliva may be indicative of pancreatic cancer,” says Pedro Torres of San Diego State University who presented the research.
In the United States, approximately 40,000 people die every year due to pancreatic adenocarcinoma, making it the fourth leading cause of cancer related death. Patients diagnosed in the early stages of pancreatic cancer have a 5-year survival rate of 21.5%. Unfortunately symptoms do not appear until after the cancer has become untreatable in the vast majority of cases, says Torres.
In the study, Torres and his colleagues compared the diversity of saliva bacteria across 131 patients, 63 female and 68 male, being treated at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Moores Cancer Center. Of these patients, 14 had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, 13 with pancreatic disease, 22 with other forms of cancer and 10 disease free. Results showed that patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer had higher levels of two particular oral bacteria, Leptotrichia and Campylobacter, when compared to any other healthy or diseased state including non-cancerous pancreatic disease. Those with pancreatic cancer also had lower levels of Streptococcus, Treponema and Veillonella.
“Our results suggest the presence of a consistently distinct microbial profile for pancreatic cancer,” says Torres. “We may be able to detect pancreatic cancer at its early stages by taking individuals’ saliva and looking at the ratios of these bacteria.”
EEG In The ED.
Even though it could impact their admission or care in the hospital, few seizing patients receive a diagnostic electroencephalogram, or EEG, in the emergency department, says a new study presented by University of Cincinnati researchers.
The research team, led by assistant professor of emergency medicine and neurosurgery William Knight, MD, looked at the use of EEGs to diagnose status epilepticus, a life-threatening condition in which the brain is in a state of persistent seizure for more than five minutes.
Status epilepticus affects more than 100,000 people each year in the United States, and the use of an EEG in the emergency department could assist with diagnosing patients who need immediate care for a persistent seizure.
To better understand how EEGs are used in patients suspected of seizures, Knight and his collaborators conducted a retrospective chart review of all adults who came to the emergency department of an urban, tertiary care hospital with seizures or suspected status epilepticus and who received an EEG within 24 hours of admission.
They found that over a quarter of patients with suspected seizures had an EEG performed in the ED, but only 6 percent of the EEGs resulted in a diagnosis of seizures. Only 2 percent of EEGs performed after a patient was admitted to the hospital were positive, demonstrating that some patients with a negative EEG may not need to be admitted.
“We showed that overall, a very small proportion of seizure patients in the ED end up with status epilepticus,” says Knight. “We also concluded that there may be future opportunities to utilize ED observation units to obtain EEGs in seizure patients, which may ultimately reduce hospital and/or intensive care unit (ICU) admissions.”
Knight and co-authors presented the results at the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, held in Dallas.