The Composition of Microbiome in Larynx and the Throat Biodiversity between Laryngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients and Control Population

PLoS One. 2013 Jun 18;8(6):e66476. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066476. Print 2013.


The throat is an ecological assemblage involved human cells and microbiota, and the colonizing bacteria are important factors in balancing this environment. However, this bacterial community profile has thus been poorly investigated. The purpose of this study was to investigate the microbial biology of the larynx and to analyze the throat biodiversity in laryngeal carcinoma patients compared to a control population in a case-control study. Barcoded pyrosequencing analysis of the 16S rRNA gene was used. We collected tissue samples from 29 patients with laryngeal carcinoma and 31 control patients with vocal cord polyps. The findings of high-quality sequence datasets revealed 218 genera from 13 phyla in the laryngeal mucosa. The predominant communities of phyla in the larynx were Firmicutes (54%), Fusobacteria (17%), Bacteroidetes (15%), Proteobacteria (11%), and Actinobacteria (3%). The leading genera were Streptococcus (36%), Fusobacterium (15%), Prevotella (12%), Neisseria (6%), and Gemella (4%). The throat bacterial compositions were highly different between laryngeal carcinoma subjects and control population (p = 0.006). The abundance of the 26 genera was significantly different between the laryngeal cancer and control groups by metastats analysis (p<0.05). Fifteen genera may be associated with laryngeal carcinoma by partial least squares discriminant analysis (p<0.001). In summary, this study revealed the microbiota profiles in laryngeal mucosa from tissue specimens. The compositions of bacteria community in throat were different between laryngeal cancer patients and controls, and probably were related with this carcinoma. The disruption of this bio-ecological niche might be a risk factor for laryngeal carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Biodiversity
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / microbiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Larynx / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • Pharynx / microbiology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S

Grant support

This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81001203, and was funded by the Academic Leaders Training Program of Pudong Health Bureau of Shanghai (Grant No. PWRd2012-11). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.