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Analysis of Fusobacterium persistence and antibiotic response in colorectal cancer

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Science  23 Nov 2017:
eaal5240
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal5240

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Abstract

Colorectal cancers comprise a complex mixture of malignant cells, non-transformed cells and microorganisms. Fusobacterium nucleatum is among the most prevalent bacterial species in colorectal cancer tissues. Here we show that colonization of human colorectal cancers with Fusobacterium and its associated microbiome, including Bacteroides, Selenomonas and Prevotella species, is maintained in distal metastases, demonstrating microbiome stability between paired primary-metastatic tumors. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that Fusobacterium is predominantly associated with cancer cells in the metastatic lesions. Mouse xenografts of human primary colorectal adenocarcinomas were found to retain viable Fusobacterium and its associated microbiome through successive passages. Treatment of mice bearing a colon cancer xenograft with the antibiotic metronidazole reduced Fusobacterium load, cancer cell proliferation and overall tumor growth. These observations argue for further investigation of antimicrobial interventions as a potential treatment for patients with Fusobacterium-associated colorectal cancer.

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