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Researchers find possible link between bacterium and colon cancer
Date:10/17/2011

r 'microenvironment,' specifically on the cell-to-cell interactions that may promote cancer formation and growth."

While the relationship if any between colorectal cancer and Fusobacterium is unclear, there are intriguing hints that the bacterium may play a role in the cancer, says Meyerson, who is co-director of the Center for Cancer Genome Discovery at Dana-Farber and a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. Previous studies have suggested that Fusobacterium is associated with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, which can raise people's risk of developing colon cancer.

"At this point, we don't know what the connection between Fusobacterium and colon cancer might be," Meyerson observes. "It may be that the bacterium is essential for cancer growth, or that cancer simply provides a hospitable environment for the bacterium. Further research is needed to see what the link is."

Researchers are embarking on comparison studies of Fusobacterium levels in larger numbers of patients with colorectal cancer and in those without the disease. Also planned are studies to determine whether the bacterium can be used to induce colon cancer in animal models.


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Contact: Anne Doerr/Rob Levy
anne_doerr@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-4090
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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