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Microbes may reveal colon cancer mutations

Mix of gut bacteria differs depending on whether it’s next to normal tissue or tumors

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1:30pm, October 14, 2015
gut microbes

MIX AND MATCH  Particular mixes of gut microbes (green) are associated with certain DNA mutations in colon cancer, a new study suggests. 

BALTIMORE — Microbes can reveal which mutations drive colon cancer, a new study suggests.

By examining bacteria growing alongside 44 colon cancer tumors and 44 healthy tissue samples, researchers have determined that particular mixes of microbes are associated with both the number and types of DNA mutations the cancer carries.

Colon tumors with more mutations had a more diverse mix of bacteria, or microbiome, than did tumors with few mutations, Ran Blekhman of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, reported October 9 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. And certain bacteria were more likely to be found growing next to cancer cells carrying specific mutations. For instance, the presence of Fusobacterium was associated with tumors harboring mutations in the APC gene, Blekhman and colleagues found. Microbe

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