Fusobacterium nucleatum and Colorectal Cancer

Oral Bacteria Found Predominantly Associated with Human Colorectal Cancer Cells

By Ramadhani Chambuso

The same oral commensal bacterium and gum disease pathogen called Fusobacterium nucleatum was found to be predominantly associated with primary human colorectal cancer cells and even in distant metastatic lesions, a study published in 2017 on the journal Science, reports. Furthermore, it was proven in mice with colon cancer that after treatment with antibiotics, Fusobacteruim load, cancer cell proliferation and overall tumour growth, all were reduced, which indicates that this organism may play a crucial role in colon cancer development.

Despite other studies suggesting the possible pro-tumorigenic role of Fusobacterium which may include modulation of host immune response to cancer cells and further enhancement of tumour cell invasion in colon cancer pathogenesis, this new study was scientifically able to show the correlation between decrease in Fusobacterium load and the decreased in rate of tumour growth and improved overall patient survival.

Although it is not clear yet if good oral hygiene would probably add advantage to preventive measures to colorectal cancer outcome, these scientists recommended the use of antibiotic Metronidazole, Fusobacterium–specific antimicrobial agents or phage therapy concurrently in colon cancer treatment. This is because broad-spectrum antibiotics may risk other gut microbial balance and did not show any additional effects on tumour growth control in their study.

Source: Bullman et al. (2017), Mima et al. (2015).

One thought on “Fusobacterium nucleatum and Colorectal Cancer”

  1. Hi Ramadhani,
    This is great information and continues to implicate F. nucleatum in several adverse health outcomes. It would be interesting to assess the diversity of F. nucleatum in the different body sites where it has been found. There is a high possibility that this bacterium differentially activates certain virulent genes in different body sites in order to survive and cause infections/disease. This is a bacterium that should receive more attention in research.

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