Researchers at the University of Michigan recently published data that shows that using microbiome analysis may prove helpful in screening and detecting colon cancer cases.
Patrick Schloss, Ph.D, and colleagues analyzed the microbiome of stool samples from 30 healthy volunteers, 30 patients with known colon adenomas, and 30 with known colorectal cancer.
The researchers determined that several microbial gene sequences, when absent, were highly suggestive of the presence of either adenomas or colorectal cancer. The sensitivity for both conditions was 90% with the specificity of the gene sequence absence being 80% and 83% respectively.
In addition, the absence of four specific gene sequences in the microbial environment in the guy allowed better distinction between adenoma and colorectal cancer than did fecal occult blood testing.
This study builds on previous research that showed that patients with an overgrowth of some bacterial species such as Fusobacterium and Bacteroides fragilis is associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer.
Likely important protective bacteria that are missing in colons with colorectal cancer are Clostridium, Bacteroides, and Lachnospiraceae.