Gut Bacteria Might Hitch A Ride with Spreading Bowel Cancer

Bowel Cancer has become the second largest cause of cancer deaths in the UK! 
New research shows that certain bacteria found in bowel cancers can be found in a small number of tumours which have spread to other parts of the body.

The team at the Dana-Farber institute took samples from 101 patients who had bowel cancer. The samples were taken from the gut and also the liver, where it had spread to. 43% of these patients had a type of bacteria called Fusobacteria in their bowel cancer cells and 20% of those patients also had the same bacteria in the liver.

When tested on mice, the bowel cancer cells which were carrying Fusobacteria grew; however the cells which had been deprived of this bacterium did not. The study has therefore shown that the bacteria can help tumour cells survive and develop. Researchers said this adds to the evidence of a relationship between growing bowel cancers and the types of microorganisms in the gut.

The researchers behind the study said that while specific antibiotics can kill the Fusobacteria and slow the growth of the tumours, further work is needed to fully understand the effects of antibiotics on these bacteria and growing cancers.

To read more please visit Cancer Research UK