Increasing evidence suggests a role of the gut microbiota in colorectal carcinogenesis (CRC). To detect bacterial markers of colorectal cancer in African Americans a metabolomic analysis was performed on fecal water extracts. DNA from stool samples of adenoma and healthy subjects and from colon cancer and matched normal tissues was analyzed to determine the microbiota composition (using 16S rDNA) and genomic content (metagenomics). Metagenomic functions with discriminative power between healthy and neoplastic specimens were established. Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (q-PCR) using primers and probes specific to Streptococcus sp. VT_162 were used to validate this bacterium association with neoplastic transformation in stool samples from two independent cohorts of African Americans and Chinese patients with colorectal lesions. The metabolomic analysis of adenomas revealed low amino acids content. The microbiota in both cancer vs. normal tissues and adenoma vs. normal stool samples were different at the 16S rRNA gene level. Cross-mapping of metagenomic data led to 9 markers with significant discriminative power between normal and diseased specimens. These markers identified with Streptococcus sp. VT_162. Q-PCR data showed a statistically significant presence of this bacterium in advanced adenoma and cancer samples in an independent cohort of CRC patients. We defined metagenomic functions from Streptococcus sp. VT_162 with discriminative power among cancers vs. matched normal and adenomas vs. healthy subjects' stools. Streptococcus sp. VT_162 specific 16S rDNA was validated in an independent cohort. These findings might facilitate non-invasive screening for colorectal cancer.
Keywords: African Americans; colorectal cancer; metabolomics; metagenomic linkage groups; microbiota.