Association of Streptococcus bovis with carcinoma of the colon

N Engl J Med. 1977 Oct 13;297(15):800-2. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197710132971503.


Two patients with colonic adenocarcinoma and Streptococcus bovis endocarditis suggested a possible association between the two. Non-enterococcal Group D streptococci were isolated from fecal cultures of 11 of 105 controls, 35 of 63 patients with carcinoma of the colon, seven of 25 with inflammatory bowel disease, four of 21 with non-colonic neoplasms and five of 37 with other gastrointestinal disorders. All such streptococci examined for lactose fermentation were S. bovis. The prevalence of S. bovis in fecal cultures from patients with carcinoma of the colon was significantly increased (P less than 0.001) as compared to that in controls, and also to all other groups (P less than 0.001). No other group had results significantly different from those of controls (P less than 0.05) although patients with inflammatory bowel disease were more frequently carriers. The carrier state was unrelated to age, hospitalization status, colonic stasis, gastrointestinal bleeding or recent barium-enema examination. The implications of this association are unknown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / complications*
  • Adenocarcinoma / microbiology
  • Aged
  • Carrier State / microbiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / complications
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Enterococcus faecalis / isolation & purification
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications*
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology