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Fusobacterium nucleatum facilitates cetuximab resistance in colorectal cancer via the PI3K/AKT and JAK/STAT3 pathways

By Hu Han, Yan Li, Wan Qin, Lu Wang, Han Yin, Beibei Su, Xianglin Yuan

Posted 21 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.21.423755

Infectious pathogens contribute to about 20% of the total tumor burden. Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn) has been associated with the initiation, progression, and therapy resistance in colorectal cancer (CRC). The over-abundance of Fn has been observed in patients with right-sided CRC than in those with left-sided CRC. While the KRAS/NRAS/BRAF wild-type status of the CRC conferred better response to cetuximab in patients with left-sided CRC than with right-sided CRC. However, treatment failure remains the leading cause of tumor relapse and poor clinical outcome in patients with CRC. Here, we have studied the association of Fn to cetuximab resistance. Our functional studies indicate that Fn facilitates resistance of CRC to cetuximab in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, Fn was found to target the PI3K/AKT and JAK/STAT3 pathways, which altered the response to cetuximab therapy. Therefore, assessing the levels and targeting Fn and the associated signaling pathways may allow modulating the treatment regimen and improve prognoses of CRC patients.

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