Gut bacteria might be an indicator of colon cancer risk
A study reported that the increased presence of certain bacteria in a gut biome indicates a greater likelihood that colon polyps will become cancerous.
In this research, William DePaolo, associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, tracked 40 patients who had undergone routine colonoscopies and had biopsies taken near the polyps to identify bacteria present at relatively higher levels compared with those of patients who were polyp-free. All the patients were between the ages 50 and 75, and 60% were women.
"The rising incidence of colorectal cancer is a major health concern, but little is known about the composition and role of microbiota associated with precancerous polyps," the study states.
DePaolo's research team found that a common bacteria, non-enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis, was elevated in the mucosal biopsies of patients with polyps.
The research also found distinct microbial signatures distinguishing patients with polyps from those without polyps, and established a correlation between the amount of B. fragilis in the samples and the inflammation of small polyps.
Upon closer examination, DePaolo found that the B. fragilis from patients with polyps differed in its ability to induce inflammation compared to the B. fragilis from polyp-free individuals.