Scientists have found a link between bacteria and colorectal cancers.
"Tumors and their surroundings contain complex mixtures of cancer cells, normal cells, and a variety of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses," says the study's senior author, Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute. "Over the past decade, there has been an increasing focus on the relationship between cancer cells and their ‘microenvironment,' specifically on the cell-to-cell interactions that may promote cancer formation and growth."
While the relationship between colorectal cancer and Fusobacterium is unclear, there are intriguing hints that the bacterium may play a role in the cancer, says Meyerson. "At this point, we don't know what the connection between Fusobacterium and colon cancer might be," Meyerson observes. "It may be that the bacterium is essential for cancer growth, or that cancer simply provides a hospitable environment for the bacterium."
Recent studies have also found a link between bacteria and pancreatic cancer.