Researchers think some gut bacteria may increase bowel cancer risk
Bacteria in the gut might influence the chance of developing bowel cancer, according to early research by the University of Bristol, presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Conference today in Glasgow.
The study looked at the genetic and gut microbiome data of about 4,000 people and explored whether there were common changes to genes linked to the presence of certain bacteria in the gut. The results found people whose genes increased the likelihood of having a type of bacteria called Bacteroidales, had a small increased risk of developing bowel cancer.
The researchers' next step will be to look into whether these changes are directly driving the increased risk of bowel cancer.
The study is in its early stages and has not yet been peer reviewed or published.
Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs at Bowel Cancer UK said: "This is very early stage research looking at how our own genes can influence the bugs that live within our gut and how those bugs can affect our risk of developing bowel cancer.
"We know that the microbiome is an emerging area of interest in bowel cancer and there are a number of large research studies investigating how our gut flora could increase or decrease our risk of the disease as well as how they influence treatment.
"It will be interesting to see how this new area of research develops over time."