Fusobacterium Nucleatum Infection Is Prevalent in Human Colorectal Carcinoma

Genome Res. 2012 Feb;22(2):299-306. doi: 10.1101/gr.126516.111. Epub 2011 Oct 18.

Abstract

An estimated 15% or more of the cancer burden worldwide is attributable to known infectious agents. We screened colorectal carcinoma and matched normal tissue specimens using RNA-seq followed by host sequence subtraction and found marked over-representation of Fusobacterium nucleatum sequences in tumors relative to control specimens. F. nucleatum is an invasive anaerobe that has been linked previously to periodontitis and appendicitis, but not to cancer. Fusobacteria are rare constituents of the fecal microbiota, but have been cultured previously from biopsies of inflamed gut mucosa. We obtained a Fusobacterium isolate from a frozen tumor specimen; this showed highest sequence similarity to a known gut mucosa isolate and was confirmed to be invasive. We verified overabundance of Fusobacterium sequences in tumor versus matched normal control tissue by quantitative PCR analysis from a total of 99 subjects (p = 2.5 × 10(-6)), and we observed a positive association with lymph node metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Fusobacterium Infections / microbiology*
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / classification
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / genetics
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / isolation & purification*
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Large / microbiology
  • Metagenome / genetics
  • Phylogeny