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Patients with familial adenomatous polyposis harbor colonic biofilms containing tumorigenic bacteria

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Science  02 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6375, pp. 592-597
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah3648

Biofilms provide refuge for cancerous bacteria

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) causes benign polyps along the colon. If left untreated, FAP leads to a high incidence of colon cancer. To understand how polyps influence tumor formation, Dejea et al. examined the colonic mucosa of FAP patients. They discovered biofilms containing the carcinogenic versions of the bacterial species Escherichia coli and Bacteroides fragilis. Colon tissue from FAP patients exhibited greater expression of two bacterial genes that produce secreted oncotoxins. Studies in mice showed that specific bacteria could work together to induce colon inflammation and tumor formation.

Science, this issue p. 592