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Distinct Microbes, Metabolites, and Ecologies Define the Microbiome in Deficient and Proficient Mismatch Repair Colorectal Cancers

By Vanessa Hale, Patricio Jeraldo, Jun Chen, Michael Mundy, Janet Yao, Sambhawa Priya, Gary Keeney, Kelly Lyke, Jason Ridlon, Bryan A. White, Amy J. French, Stephen N Thibodeau, Christian Diener, OSBALDO RESENDIS-ANTONIO, Jaime Gransee, Tumpa Dutta, Xuan-Mai Petterson, Ran Blekhman, Lisa Boardman, David Larson, Heidi Nelson, Nicholas Chia

Posted 13 Jun 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/346510 (published DOI: 10.1186/s13073-018-0586-6)

Background: The link between colorectal cancer (CRC) and the gut microbiome has been established, but the specific microbial species and their role in carcinogenesis remain controversial. Our understanding would be enhanced by better accounting for tumor subtype, microbial community interactions, metabolism, and ecology. Methods: We collected paired colon tumor and normal adjacent tissue and mucosa samples from 83 individuals who underwent partial or total colectomies for CRC. Mismatch repair (MMR) status was determined in each tumor sample and classified as either deficient MMR (dMMR) or proficient MMR (pMMR) tumor subtypes. Samples underwent 16S rRNA gene sequencing and a subset of samples from 50 individuals were submitted for targeted metabolomic analysis to quantify amino acids and short chain fatty acids. A PERMANOVA was used to identify the biological variables that explained variance within the microbial communities. dMMR and pMMR microbial communities were then analyzed separately using a generalized linear mixed effects model that accounted for MMR status, sample location, intrasubject sample correlation, and read depth. Genome scale metabolic models were then used to generate microbial interaction networks for dMMR and pMMR microbial communities. We assessed global network properties as well as the metabolic influence of each microbe within the dMMR and pMMR networks. Results: We demonstrate distinct roles for microbes in dMMR and pMMR CRC. Sulfidogenic Fusobacterium nucleatum and hydrogen sulfide production were significantly enriched in dMMR CRC, but not pMMR CRC. We also surveyed the butyrate producing microbial species, but did not find a significant difference in predicted or actual butyrate production between dMMR and pMMR microbial communities. Finally, we observed that dMMR microbial communities were predicted to be less stable than pMMR microbial communities. Community stability may play an important role in CRC development, progression, or immune activation within the respective MMR subtypes. Conclusions: Integrating tumor biology and microbial ecology highlighted distinct microbial, metabolic, and ecological properties unique to dMMR and pMMR CRC. This approach could critically improve our ability to define, predict, prevent, and treat colorectal cancers.

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