The oral bacterium Streptococcus mutans promotes tumor metastasis by inducing vascular inflammation

Li Yu, Nako Maishi, Erika Akahori, Akira Hasebe, Ryo Takeda, Aya Yanagawa Matsuda, Yasuhiro Hida, Jin Min Nam, Yasuhito Onodera, Yoshimasa Kitagawa, Kyoko Hida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have demonstrated a relationship between oral bacteria and systemic inflammation. Endothelial cells (ECs), which line blood vessels, control the opening and closing of the vascular barrier and contribute to hematogenous metastasis; however, the role of oral bacteria-induced vascular inflammation in tumor metastasis remains unclear. In this study, we examined the phenotypic changes in vascular ECs following Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) stimulation in vitro and in vivo. The expression of molecules associated with vascular inflammation and barrier-associated adhesion was analyzed. Tumor metastasis was evaluated after intravenous injection of S. mutans in murine breast cancer hematogenous metastasis model. The results indicated that S. mutans invaded the ECs accompanied by inflammation and NF-κB activation. S. mutans exposure potentially disrupts endothelial integrity by decreasing vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin expression. The migration and adhesion of tumor cells were enhanced in S. mutans-stimulated ECs. Furthermore, S. mutans-induced lung vascular inflammation promoted breast cancer cell metastasis to the lungs in vivo. The results indicate that oral bacteria promote tumor metastasis through vascular inflammation and the disruption of vascular barrier function. Improving oral hygiene in patients with cancer is of great significance in preventing postoperative pneumonia and tumor metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3980-3994
Number of pages15
JournalCancer science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11-2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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