Microbiome-metabolome analysis reveals cervical lesion alterations

Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2022 Oct 25;54(10):1552-1560. doi: 10.3724/abbs.2022149.


Cervical cancer (CC) continues to be one of the most common cancers among females worldwide. It takes a few years or even decades for CC to arise in a minority of women with cervical precancers. An increasing corpus of studies today indicates that local microecology and carcinogenesis are intimately related. To investigate the changes in cericovaginal microecology with the development of cervical cancer, we performed 16S rDNA sequencing and metabolomic analysis in cericovaginal fluid from 10 LSIL patients, 10 HSIL patients, 10 CC patients and 10 healthy controls to reveal the differential flora and metabolites during cervical carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis is associated with alterations in microbiome diversity, individual taxa, and functions with notable changes in Lactobacillus, Prevotella and Aquabacterium, as well as in cervicovaginal metabolites that correlate with cervicovaginal microbial patterns. Increased bacterial diversity and a decline in the relative abundance of Lactobacillus, the dominant species in the cericovaginal flora, are observed when cervical lesions advance. According to KEGG pathway enrichment analysis, lipids and organic acids change as cervical cancer progresses, and the phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan biosynthesis pathway is essential for the development of cervical cancer. Our results reveal that microbic and metabolomic profiling is capable of distinguishing CC from precancer and highlights potential biomarkers for the early detection of cervical dysplasia. These differential microorganisms and metabolites are expected to become a potential tool to assist in the diagnosis of cervical cancer.

Keywords: cervical cancer; cervical squamous intraepithelial lesion; metabolomics; microbiome.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogenesis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Metabolome
  • Microbiota*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia* / microbiology
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia* / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / pathology