Gut bacteria influence colon cancer progression

Posted Apr 13, 2014 by Tim Sandle
Researchers have demonstrated that gut bacteria can change the environment in a way that promotes the growth and spread of tumors. The results suggest that bacterial proteins may suppress DNA repair proteins within the cells that line the colon.
Hansens disease  leprosy
Hansens disease, leprosy
US Department of Health and Human Services
There inference from the research is that the way colon cancer forms in the gut its progression into a lethal form can be influenced by the types of bacteria found in the body location. Thus some bacterial proteins can promote genetic changes that create conditions in the gut that would favor the progression of colon cancer.
Colom cancer is a cancer from uncontrolled cell growth in the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine), or in the appendix. Symptoms of colorectal cancer typically include rectal bleeding and anemia which are sometimes associated with weight loss and changes in bowel habits.
Intestinal bacteria provide benefits to their human hosts, such as aiding in digestion and crowding out more directly pathogenic bacteria. However, both "friendly" bacteria and pathogenic bacteria have been shown to actively reduce inflammation, an important tool used by the human innate immune system to promote healing and prevent the spread of infection.
Based on these findings, the research opens the possibility of modifying colon cancer risk by altering the population makeup of bacteria in the intestines of people at risk due to genetics or environmental exposure.
The study was carried out by the Wistar Institute. The research was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in San Diego.