Increases in specific microbiome organisms were associated with colorectal cancer such as intramucosal carcinomas and polypoid adenomas, said Osaka University researchers. Their results, recently published in Nature Medicine Letters, reveal that these specific markers could help distinguish cases of colorectal cancer from healthy samples.
The gut has a population of organisms that live within in it, called the gut microbiome, which are linked to human health and disease. Recent studies have shown that assessing the genetic changes in fecal samples can accurately reflect the status of the gut microbiome, and may be useful for the early diagnosis of diseases.
"We believe that colorectal cancer is fundamentally not only a genetic but also a microbial disease," says one of the study's corresponding authors, Shinichi Yachida. "Our results show that changes in the gut microbiome are present at the very early stages of colorectal cancer development, which could potentially provide vital diagnostic and causative clues for this disease."
"Future studies will focus on the relationship between the gut microbiome and tumor characteristics in individual patients with colorectal cancer. This will help us understand the roles of the microbiome in the development of colorectal cancer,"says the second corresponding author, Takuji Yamada.