A type of gut bacteria may increase risk of bowel cancer

Some gut bacteria may increase bowel cancer risk, research suggests

Some gut bacteria may increase bowel cancer risk, research suggests

Another research done on 2000 people disclosed that those whose genes are linked to having a kind of Bacteroidales bacteria are more prone to develop bowel cancer. Hence the best defense is to cultivate most diverse communities of gut bacterial microbiomes by eating diverse plants and vegetables, said Tim Spector.

While scientists have found plenty of associations between gut bacteria phenomena and various diseases and conditions, proving a direct link has been more hard. The gut microbiome varies between individuals depending on their genetic makeup and their environment.

Researchers from the University of Bristol say the presence of one unclassified type of Bacteroidales bacteria in a person's gut makes them between 2 and 15 per cent more likely to have bowel cancer. It stays relatively unchanged throughout a person's lifetime unless it is affected by illness, antibiotics or dietary changes.

"What we need to do in terms of further work is to understand not only what the [specific] bacteria [behind this link] are", said Wade, "but understand what potential off target effects there could be if we were interested in altering [these bacteria]".

"We don't have to edit anyone's gut microbiome directly by giving antibiotics or probiotics in a randomized trial or waste time waiting to see whether people within the population get colorectal cancer". Using a form of statistical analysis called Mendelian randomization created to reveal causal associations in big data, the research uncovered a genetic variation linked to a specific type of bacteria from the Bacteroidales group that seemed to increase a person's risk for bowel cancer by up to 15 percent.

A new British study suggests a link between certain gut bacteria and an increased risk of bowel cancer, but stops short of concluding that either of those causes the other. "We just need studies that have already got this information measured", said Wade.

The researchers used data available for 3,890 people who participated in the Flemish Gut Flora Project, the German Food Chain Plus study and the PopGen study and 120,328 participants in the global Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium.

These studies, which are called genome-wide association studies, look for small genomic variations that occur more frequently in people with a certain disease or characteristic than in people who do not have the disease or characteristic.

They also found that genetic variation in the population in particular parts of the genome were linked to the presence or varying amounts of 13 types of gut bacteria, and that people with an unclassified type of bacteria from the Bacteroidales group had a higher risk of bowel cancer compared to people who did not have these bacteria.

Ian Tomlinson, from the University of Edinburgh, is hesitant to use this research as definitive causal proof of a link between gut bacteria and bowel cancer. "Our findings support previous studies that have shown that Bacteroidales bacteria are more likely to be present, and in larger quantities, in individuals with bowel cancer compared to those without the disease".

Using Mendelian randomization, the researchers could study people's randomly inherited genetic variations that alter the gut microbiome in a way that resembles a randomized trial. "However, I believe that we are at the forefront of understanding and appreciating the complexity of these relationships - not only those between the human gut microbiome and disease but also between human genetic variation and the gut microbiome itself - which is required to appropriately use these methods to appraise causality", she concluded. "The actual genetic changes [themselves] could be associated with the disease first and foremost which then drives variation in the bacteria", said Wade. However, he does see the study as important in expanding our understanding of how these cancers develop.

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