We tested the hypothesis that an altered community of gut microbes is associated with risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) in a study of 47 CRC case subjects and 94 control subjects. 16S rRNA genes in fecal bacterial DNA were amplified by universal primers, sequenced by 454 FLX technology, and aligned for taxonomic classification to microbial genomes using the QIIME pipeline. Taxonomic differences were confirmed with quantitative polymerase chain reaction and adjusted for false discovery rate. All statistical tests were two-sided. From 794217 16S rRNA gene sequences, we found that CRC case subjects had decreased overall microbial community diversity (P = .02). In taxonomy-based analyses, lower relative abundance of Clostridia (68.6% vs 77.8%) and increased carriage of Fusobacterium (multivariable odds ratio [OR] = 4.11; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.62 to 10.47) and Porphyromonas (OR = 5.17; 95% CI = 1.75 to 15.25) were found in case subjects compared with control subjects. Because of the potentially modifiable nature of the gut bacteria, our findings may have implications for CRC prevention.