The gut microbiota has been associated with colorectal cancer (CRC), but causal alterations preceding CRC have not been elucidated. To prospectively assess microbiome changes prior to colorectal neoplasia, we investigated samples from 100 Lynch syndrome patients using 16S rRNA gene sequencing of colon biopsies, coupled with metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing of feces. Colectomy and CRC history represented the largest effects on microbiome profiles. A subset of Clostridiaceae were depleted in stool corresponding with baseline adenomas, while Desulfovibrio was enriched both in stool and in mucosal biopsies. A classifier leveraging stool metatranscriptomes resulted in modest power to predict interval development of preneoplastic colonic adenoma. Predictive transcripts corresponded with a shift in flagellin contributors and oxidative metabolic microenvironment, potentially factors in local CRC pathogenesis. This suggests that the effectiveness of prospective microbiome monitoring for adenomas may be limited but supports the potential causality of these consistent, early microbial changes in colonic neoplasia.
Keywords: Lynch syndrome; colorectal cancer; human microbiome; metagenomics; metatranscriptomics.
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