Bacteria in Mouth Implicated in Colorectal Cancer (Science Daily)

Gut microbes have recently been linked to colorectal cancer, but it has not been clear whether and how they might cause tumors to form in the first place. Two studies published by Cell Press on August 14th in the journal Cell Host & Microbe reveal how gut microbes known as fusobacteria, which are found in the mouth, stimulate bad immune responses and turn on cancer growth genes to generate colorectal tumors. The findings could lead to more effective strategies for the early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of colorectal cancer.

Fusobacteria may provide not only a new way to group or describe colon cancers but also, more importantly, a new perspective on how to target pathways to halt tumor growth and spread,” says senior study author Wendy Garrett of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Dental plaque. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of plaque, which consists of a film of bacteria (green) embedded in a matrix of glycoprotein (brown). The bacteria shown are mainly spindle-shaped Fusobacteria. If left untreated, bacteria in the plaque produce acids which erode dental enamel, leading to decay and infection.