Periodontal disease has been seen as a risk factor for a host of systemic issues, including heart disease, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. A study from Taiwan suggests that it may be linked with pancreatic cancer as well.
Researchers identified 139,805 subjects with periodontal disease and 75,085 subjects without it in the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. Next, they performed Cox proportional hazards regression to compare the incidence of pancreatic cancer between the groups. The research showed a predominant positive association between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer risk among subjects age 65 and older, though it was not observed among those younger than 65.
Periodontal disease also proved to be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer independent of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, allergies, viral hepatitis, peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (as a proxy for cigarette smoking), and alcoholic-related conditions (as a proxy for drinking alcohol). However, the underlying biological mechanisms behind the association require further investigation, researchers said.