In a new study from the University of Washington, researchers found that the increased presence of certain bacteria in a gut biome indicates a greater risk that colon polyps will become cancerous.
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer in the United States, and its incidence is rising among younger adults.
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.
In the study, the team 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 team found that a common bacteria, non-enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis, was elevated in the mucosal biopsies of patients with polyps.
They also found distinct microbial signatures distinguishing patients with polyps from those without polyps, and established a link between the amount of B. fragilis in the samples and the inflammation of small polyps.
Upon closer examination, the team 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.
The team says that in order to survive within an environment where metabolic and inflammatory changes are occurring, a normally healthy gut and related bacteria may adapt in such a way that causes it to contribute to the inflammation rather than suppress it.
Only 5% of the polyps in the colon actually turn out to be cancerous. Polyps seem to develop in the same areas of the colon repeatedly—and the team theorized that in fact new screenings for colon cancer could look for key bacteria inhabiting the gut—and the amounts of this particular strain of B. fragilis—before pre-cancerous polyps even develop.
If you care about colon cancer, please read studies about a new cause of colon cancer and how to prevent it and findings of this beverage linked to lower death risk of colon cancer.
For more information about colon cancer and your health, please see recent studies about bacteria in mouth may lead to spread of colon cancer and results showing that aspirin may stop colon cancer growth and recurrence.
The study is published in Cell Host & Microbe. One author of the study is William DePaolo.
Copyright © 2021 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.