In a newly published study, researchers have discovered differences in the breast microbiome of healthy women versus women with breast cancer. Healthy breast tissue contains more bacteria beloning to the group Methylobacterium. These findings can be used to enhance existing treatments.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide . More than half of all women who develop the disease have no known risk factors. Since disruptions in the microbiome have been linked to various chronic diseases, such as allergies, metabolic syndrome and even colorectal cancer, scientists believe that microbes also play a role in the development of breast cancer. [2-4].
Previous research has shown that the human breast and breast milk have their own unique microbiome, which is partially derived from translocation of gut micro-organisms . These gut microbes modulate the immune system and GI-functioning but they are also known to play a role in estrogen metabolism. Estrogen levels and its metabolites have been linked to breast carcinogenesis . What remains unknown is how the breast microbiome is involved in local estrogen metabolism and breast carcinogenesis and whether the microbiomes of any other body sites outside the gut are affected by breast cancer.
In a recently published study, researchers investigated whether cancerous beast tissue is associated with a distinct microbiome profile and if microbiomes of distant sites; the oral cavity and urinary tract, are in a dysbiotic state as well. For this, the researchers analysed the microbiome of the breast, urinary tract and oral cavity, of 57 women with breast cancer and 21 healthy women. The results showed that the breast and urinary microbiome of the cancer patients were significantly different from that of non-cancer patients. Cancer patients had decreased levels of the bacterial species Methylobacterium in breast tissue and increased levels of gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus and Actinomyces in urine samples. There were no differences found in oral microbial profiles of the two groups.
Researchers discovered that cancer patients possessed a different microbial composition compared to non-cancer patients in the breast and urinary tract.
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