Health In Focus
  • There is a correlation between the composition of bacteria in the gut and the microRNA expression in human colorectal cancer.
  • The interaction between the gut microbiome and the microRNA play an important role in colorectal cancer.
  • If the correlation is found to be causal, this could open up the possibilities of manipulation the gut microbiome to develop cancer therapies.

New study has identified a correlation between the microbial composition of the gut and the microRNA expression in human colorectal cancer. The study conducted by a research team at the University of Minnesota is published in the journal mSystems.
The study is the first to show that the interaction between the gut microbiome and the microRNA may play a crucial role in human colorectal cancer.
Manipulating Gut Microbiome Could Potentially Act as Cancer Therapy

This was studied due to three important factors:
  • Recent studies that prove the microbiome has a role in colon cancer.
  • Studies which indicate that host microRNAs are very important in cancer.
  • Recent studies which show that there are interactions between the microbiome and host microRNAs.

What does this correlation mean?

While it is too early to determine the prospects of this correlation, this could one day mean that by just manipulating the gut microbial composition we could treat cancer.

"This is a correlation, but it is still very exciting, because if we see a causal effect, you can think of ways to manipulate the microRNA in the tumors by changing the microbiome, and that could potentially be used as a cancer therapy," said principal study investigator Ran Blekhman, PhD, assistant professor in the Departments of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Study overview

Colon cancer patient samples that were collected as part of a previous study at the University of Minnesota were analyzed. The microRNA of the samples were sequenced. The research team then correlated microRNA expression levels in colon cancer tissue with the microbiome composition.

Study Findings

  • Dozens of microRNA were differentially regulated in colorectal cancer tumors compared to adjacent normal colon samples. Moreover, these microRNAs were correlated with the abundance of microbes in the tumor microenvironment.
  • Microbes that have been previously associated with colorectal cancer are correlated with microRNAs (microRNA-182, microRNA-503, microRNA 17-92). These microRNAs regulate genes related to interaction with microbes. The genes are likely to regulate glycan production, which is important for the recruitment of pathogenic microbes to the tumor.
While the study only shows correlation between the gut microbiome and tumor microRNA expression, the team is set to detect whether the correlations are causal. If they are, there are possibilities of manipulating the microbiome to regulate microRNA expression which in turn could impact tumor progression.

References :
  1. Study Shines Light On Gut Microbiome In Colon Cancer - (

Source: Medindia

Most Popular on Medindia