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As per a new study, if the content of gut bacteria of people, also known as gut microbiome is examined, it can help in predicting the risk of colon cancer in people.
In this study, stool samples from ninety people were collected and the composition of gut microbiome was examined. Out of those, 30 were considered to be healthy, other 30 had precancerous intestinal polyps and the rest of them had rectal or colon cancer.
Different bacteria were found by the researchers in all 3 groups. The author of this study, Patrick Schloss, who is also an associate professor in Department of immunology and microbiology at Michigan University stated that, if the confirmation of results is seen in larger groups of people, addition of gut microbiome analysis to other fecal tests will help in providing a non-invasive and an improved way for screening colorectal cancer.
The researchers made estimations that if analysis of gut bacteria is combined with factors like race and age, it can help in brining about a 4-5 time improvement in the prediction of precancerous polyps. When gut bacteria analysis, BMI, race and age was used by the team, the prediction of colon cancer risk improved by 5 times.
It was also stated by the team that analysis of gut bacteria was more effective as compared to fecal occult blood testing, another stool sample test, to differentiate invasive cancer and precancerous polyps.
Those patients who don’t wish to undergo stool based screening techniques or colonoscopy, the type of testing which would be performed here, will definitely be of great use, says Patrick Boland, the MD of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY.
Schloss added that analysis of gut microbiome has the capacity of being a new tool to screen colon cancer non invasively. It will never replace any screening approach.