Skip to content

Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Colon Cancer Linked to Mouth Infection?

Study suggests pathway from oral bacteria to colon cells

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- An infection from a common type of mouth bacteria can contribute to colorectal cancer, a new study suggests.

The bacteria, called Fusobacterium nucleatum, can attach to colon cells and trigger a sequence of changes that can lead to colon cancer, according to the team at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.

The researchers also found a way to prevent the bacteria from attaching to colon cells.

"This discovery creates the potential for new diagnostic tools and therapies to treat and prevent the cancer," lead investigator Yiping Han said in a university news release.

The findings show the importance of good oral health, said Han, a professor of periodontics. She noted that levels of F. nucleatum are much higher in people with gum disease.

Although the study found a possible association between oral infection and colon cancer, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study was published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, which also contained another study from a different research group showing how F. nucleatum can speed the accumulation of cancer cells.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
The right diagnosis is the most important factor.
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
bladder cancer x-ray
Do you know the warning signs?
Colon vs Rectal Cancer
New Colorectal Treatments
can lack of sleep affect your immune system
Cancer Facts Quiz
Virtual Colonoscopy
Picture of the Colon
Vitamin D