Altered tissue metabolites correlate with microbial dysbiosis in colorectal adenomas

J Proteome Res. 2014 Apr 4;13(4):1921-9. doi: 10.1021/pr4009783. Epub 2014 Mar 21.


Several studies have linked bacterial dysbiosis with elevated risk of colorectal adenomas and cancer. However, the functional implications of gut dysbiosis remain unclear. Gut bacteria contribute to nutrient metabolism and produce small molecules termed the "metabolome", which may contribute to the development of neoplasia in the large bowel. We assessed the metabolome in normal rectal mucosal biopsies of 15 subjects with colorectal adenomas and 15 nonadenoma controls by liquid chromatography and gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Quantitative real-time PCR was used to measure abundances of specific bacterial taxa. We identified a total of 274 metabolites. Discriminant analysis suggested a separation of metabolomic profiles between adenoma cases and nonadenoma controls. Twenty-three metabolites contributed to the separation, notably an increase in adenoma cases of the inflammatory metabolite prostaglandin E2 and a decrease in antioxidant-related metabolites 5-oxoproline and diketogulonic acid. Pathway analysis suggested that differential metabolites were significantly related to cancer, inflammatory response, carbohydrate metabolism, and GI disease pathways. Abundances of six bacterial taxa assayed were increased in cases. The 23 differential metabolites demonstrated correlations with bacteria that were different between cases and controls. These findings suggest that metabolic products of bacteria may be responsible for the development of colorectal adenomas and CRC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / chemistry
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Dysbiosis / metabolism*
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / chemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Male
  • Metabolome / physiology*
  • Microbiota / physiology*
  • Middle Aged


  • Biomarkers, Tumor