Gut bacteria found in mouth can trigger colorectal cancer, studies find

16.08.2013 17:37

A type of gut bacteria found in the mouth
may ultimately lead to the onset of
colorectal cancer by manipulating the
body's immune response, Medical News
Today reported.
Two new studies published this week in
the journal Cell Host & Microbe
highlighted a particular species of bacteria
called Fusobacteria nucleatum.
Researchers had previously found large
quantities of Fusobacteria from the mouth
in tissues taken from colorectal cancer
patients. However, it was not yet known
whether these bacteria actually caused
the disease.
In the first study, the researchers found
Fusobacteria in benign tumors of the
colon that had the potential to eventually
become cancerous, leading them to
believe that the bacteria plays a role in
early tumor formation. In the second
study, the researchers examined
genetically engineered mice with a human-
like form of colorectal cancer. According
to Medical News Today, the team found
that the bacteria summoned a type of
immune cell called myeloid cells, which
can penetrate tumors and speed up
cancer formation.
The human gut is home to trillions of
bacteria, which maintain health by
influencing the body's immune system to
help digest food. However, these bacteria
can sometimes trigger disease, and
experts have theorized that an imbalance
of "good" and "bad" gut bacteria may
ultimately lead to colorectal cancer.
The researchers believe that their findings
may lead to earlier diagnosis and better
treatment of the disease.
"Fusobacteria may provide not only a new
way to group or describe colon cancers
but also, more importantly, a new
perspective on how to target pathways to
halt tumor growth and spread."