Specific gut bacteria species could increase bowel cancer risk, research suggests

November 11, 2019

Recent research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) in Glasgow, UK, highlights a significant relationship between a specific type of gut bacteria and an increased risk of colorectal/bowel cancer.The new research is the first to use an analytical method known as the “Mendelian randomisation” to reveal that a specific type of bacteria, from the Bacteroidales group, seemed to increase a person’s risk for bowel cancer by up to 15%.

According to Kaitlin Wade, a researcher from the University of Bristol, with Mendelian randomisation, the researchers were able to use the participant’s natural, randomly-inherited genetic variations, which alter levels of bacteria within the gut microbiome similar to a randomised trial, to determine the different risks of colorectal cancer.

Yet, Wade explains that many causative factors on the subject are difficult to ascertain, such as whether components of the gut microbiome cause bowel cancer, or whether the disease itself leads to variation in the gut microbiome. Wade adds that more research is necessary to understand how genetic variants could directly alter the gut microbiome.

Ian Tomlinson, from Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, does think the findings supplement our understanding of the complex relationships between the types and numbers of bacteria in the gut microbiome and how bowel cancer develops. The findings also supports earlier research that suggests that levels of gut bacteria species could, in fact, be an effective prognostic biomarker for the disease.


Category: Features, Health alert

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