According to a recent study published by Zackular JP et al., transfusing the gut microbiota from a mouse suffering from the colorectal tumor into the gut of a healthy mouse is an inevitable sign that the latter will also subsequently develop cancer. We have ample knowledge about the fact that inflammation plays a pivotal role in the development of colorectal cancer. But with this study foe, the very first-time researchers have shown that the development of tumors is conditioned by the interaction between alterations in the gut microflora and inflammation.
Professor Patrick Schloss (co-author of the study and a researcher at the University of Michigan (USA)) explains “Confirming that the mice that received the community of cancerous microbes developed twice as many tumors convinced us that certain digestive bacteria boost tumorigenesis (the birth of tumors),” he adds that “It is not just the microbiota and neither can it only be attributed to inflammation, rather both things take part in the process.”
Schloss and his team observed the presence of a plethora of Bacteroides, Odoribacter and Akkermansia bacteria by studying the kinds of bacterial species in the gut of the mice suffering from colorectal cancer. Majorly from a clinical point of view, post the transfer of the microbes into the healthy mice, their gut microbiota started to show imbalance and within three weeks reached a similar composition.
“It is clear that there is a feedback mechanism through which inflammation modifies the community of digestive microbes and, in parallel, this community increases inflammation,” explains Prof. Schloss. The conclusion of the study highlights that the alterations that take place in the gut microbiota on the onset of tumors are not solely a result of cancer but also, have a direct contribution in the development of tumors.
Prof. Schloss concludes that “If you can better identify what functions in the microbial community are important for protecting against tumor formation or making it worse, we can hopefully translate those results to humans to understand why people do or do not get colorectal cancer, to help develop therapeutics or dietary manipulations to reduce people’s risk.” .Such as, we are yet to understand whether avoiding excessive intake of red or tinned meat may prevent alterations in the microbiota associated with cancer.