ecancermedicalscience

Special Issue

Lung cancer: a new frontier for microbiome research and clinical translation

5 Sep 2018
Luis AJ Mur, Sharon A Huws, Simon JS Cameron, Paul D Lewis, Keir E Lewis

The lung microbiome has been shown to reflect a range of pulmonary diseases—for example: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis. Studies have now begun to show microbiological changes in the lung that correlate with lung cancer (LC) which could provide new insights into lung carcinogenesis and new biomarkers for disease screening. Clinical studies have suggested that infections with tuberculosis or pneumonia increased the risk of LC possibly through inflammatory or immunological changes. These have now been superseded by genomic-based microbiome sequencing studies based on bronchoalveolar lavage, sputum or saliva samples. Although some discrepancies exist, many have suggested changes in particular bacterial genera in LC samples particularly, Granulicatella, Streptococcus and Veillonella. Granulicatella is of particular interest, as it appeared to show LC stage-specific increases in abundance. We propose that these microbial community changes are likely to reflect biochemical changes in the LC lung, linked to an increase in anaerobic environmental niches and altered pyridoxal/polyamine/nitrogenous metabolism to which Granulicatella could be particularly responsive. These are clearly preliminary observations and many more expansive studies are required to develop our understanding of the LC microbiome.

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