Purpose: Tobacco causes many adverse health conditions and may alter the upper gastrointestinal (UGI) microbiome. However, the few studies that studied the association between tobacco use and the microbiome were small and underpowered. Therefore, we investigated the association between tobacco use and the UGI microbiome in Chinese men.
Methods: We included 278 men who underwent esophageal cancer screening in Henan Province, China. Men were categorized as current, former, or never smokers from questionnaire data. UGI tract bacterial cells were characterized using the Human Oral Microbial Identification Microarray. Counts of unique bacterial species and genera estimated alpha diversity. For beta diversity, principal coordinate (PCoA) vectors were generated from an unweighted UniFrac distance matrix. Polytomous logistic regression models were used for most analyses.
Results: Of the 278 men in this study, 46.8% were current smokers and 12.6% were former smokers. Current smokers tended to have increased alpha diversity (mean 42.3 species) compared to never smokers (mean 38.9 species). For a 10 species increase, the odds ratio (OR) for current smoking was 1.29 (95% CI 1.04-1.62). Beta diversity was also associated with current smoking. The first two PCoA vectors were strongly associated with current smoking (PCoA1 OR 0.66; 95% CI 0.51-0.87; PCoA2 OR 0.73; 95% CI 0.56-0.95). Furthermore, Dialister invisus and Megasphaera micronuciformis were more commonly detected in current smokers than in never smokers.
Conclusions: Current smoking was associated with both alpha and beta diversity in the UGI tract. Future work should consider how the UGI microbiome is associated with smoking-related diseases.