Background: Both genetic and epigenetic alterations have been reported to act as driving forces of tumorigenesis in colorectal cancer (CRC), but a growing body of evidence suggests that intestinal microbiota may be an aetiological factor in the initiation and progression of CRC. Recently, the "driver-passenger" model for CRC has connected these different factors, but little has been done to characterize the CRC gut microbiome.
Findings: Building on the driver-passenger model, we used 454 pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes associated with 10 normal, 10 adenoma, and 8 tumor biopsy samples, and found 7 potential driver bacterial genera and 12 potential passenger bacterial genera (7 being pro-inflammatory and 5 anti-inflammatory). Further analysis also showed certain co-expression patterns among different clusters of bacteria that may potentially be related to the promotion or progression of gut cancers.
Conclusions: The present findings provide preliminary experimental evidence supporting the proposition of bacterial "driver-passenger model" for CRC, and identified potentially novel microbial agents that may be connected to risk of CRC in a Han Chinese population.
Keywords: CRC; Co-occurrence; Driver bacteria; Passenger bacteria.