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Cancer Sci. 2004 Jul;95(7):569-74.

Frequent and preferential infection of Treponema denticola, Streptococcus mitis, and Streptococcus anginosus in esophageal cancers.

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Genetics Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute and Department of Surgery, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan.


Multiple cancers frequently occur in the upper digestive tract. One possible explanation is that specific bacterial infection stimulates the normal epithelium to initiate inflammation and/or promotes carcinogenesis. This study was undertaken to determine which bacterial species is predominantly associated with esophageal cancer. We examined the bacterial diversity in this type of cancer and in the saliva from healthy people by using a culture-independent molecular method. Here we report the preferential and frequent infection of the oral periodontopathic spirochete Treponema denticola (T. denticola), Streptococcus mitis (S. mitis), and Streptococus anginosus (S. anginosus) in esophageal cancer from different regions of the world, and we also describe the induction of inflammatory cytokines by infection of S. anginosus and S. mitis. Our present data suggest that these three bacteria could have significant roles in the carcinogenic process of many cases of esophageal cancer by causing inflammation and by promoting the carcinogenic process, and that eradication of these three bacteria may decrease the risk of recurrence.

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