Using molecular ecological network analysis to explore the effects of chemotherapy on intestinal microbial communities of colorectal cancer patients
Intestinal microbiota is now widely known to be key roles in the nutrition uptake, metabolism, and the regulation of human immune responses. However, we do not know how changes the intestinal microbiota in response to the chemotherapy. In this study, we used network-based analytical approaches to explore the effects of five stages of chemotherapy on the intestinal microbiota of colorectal cancer patients. The results showed that chemotherapy greatly reduced the alpha diversity and changed the specie-specie interaction networks of intestinal microbiota, proved by the network size, network connectivity and modularity. The OTU167 and OTU8 from the genus Fusobacterium and Bacteroides were identified as keystone taxa by molecular ecological networks in the first two stages of chemotherapy, and were significantly correlated with tumor makers (P < 0.05). Five stages of chemotherapy did not make the intestinal micro-ecosystem regain a steady state, because of the lower alpha diversity and more complicated ecological networks compared to the healthy individuals. Furthermore, combing the changes of ecological networks with the tumor markers, the intestinal microbiota was closely linked with clinical chemotherapeutic effects.
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