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Colorectal Cancer Associated with Decreased Variety in Gut Microbiota — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 9, 2013

Colorectal Cancer Associated with Decreased Variety in Gut Microbiota

By Joe Elia

Patients with colorectal cancer have a narrower range of fecal bacteria, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Editorialists express enthusiasm for the results, but caution that "a lot more research" is needed before the findings can be used clinically.

Researchers analyzed bacterial DNA from fecal samples that were collected roughly 25 years ago in a case-control study of patients with colorectal cancer; the controls were patients undergoing elective surgery. Fecal samples were collected after confirmation of the diagnosis, but before therapy.

Patients with cancer had decreased overall diversity of bacteria in their gut relative to the controls. For example, they had a lower relative abundance of Clostridia species, but an increased presence of Fusobacterium.

The editorialists write that the "exciting" findings echo similar observations that have suggested a role for the microbiota in colorectal cancer.

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Barbehenn, PhD Other, Public Citizen

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