This study advances our appreciation and understanding of the role of colon dysbiosis in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer. In a human pilot study of 266 individuals, greater epigenomic (methylation) DNA alterations correlated with CRC and microbiota composition. Beyond this correlative evidence, when germ-free mice received fresh feces from CRC patients and their healthy controls, the former animals developed colon epithelial renewal, more precancerous lesions, and increased tissue and blood DNA methylation in intestinal tissues. Confirmation was obtained in a larger cohort of 1,000 patients, indicating that CRC-associated dysbiosis may promote colon carcinogenesis via epigenome dysregulation. Gene methylation can therefore serve as a marker for CRC and likely for predicting efficacy of prebiotic supplementation in average-risk individuals.
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