Fusobacterium nucleatum as a prognostic marker of colorectal cancer in a Japanese population
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Accumulating evidence shows an overabundance of Fusobacterium nucleatum in colorectal tumor tissues. However, the correlation between the absolute copy number of F. nucleatum in colorectal cancer tissues and colorectal cancer progression is unclear from previous reports. Therefore, we performed a study to compare the abundance of F. nucleatum in colorectal tissues with clinicopathologic and molecular features of colorectal cancer.
We collected 100 colorectal cancer tissues and 72 matched normal-appearing mucosal tissues. Absolute copy numbers of F. nucleatum were measured by droplet digital PCR.
The detection rates of F. nucleatum were 63.9% (46/72) in normal-appearing mucosal tissues and 75.0% (75/100) in CRC tissue samples. The median copy number of F. nucleatum was 0.4/ng DNA in the normal-appearing colorectal mucosa in patients with colorectal cancer and 1.9/ng DNA in the colorectal cancer tissues (P = 0.0031). F. nucleatum copy numbers in stage IV colorectal cancer tissues were significantly higher than those in the normal-appearing mucosa in patients with colorectal cancer (P = 0.0016). The abundance of F. nucleatum in colorectal cancer tissues correlated with tumor size and KRAS mutation and was significantly associated with shorter overall survival times; this trend was notable in the patients with stage IV colorectal cancer. Focusing on normal-appearing mucosa in the patients with colorectal cancer, the F. nucleatum copy number was significantly higher in the patients with stage IV rather than stages I–III.
These results suggest that determining F. nucleatum levels may help predict clinical outcomes in colorectal cancer patients. Further confirmatory studies using independent datasets are required to confirm our findings.
KeywordsColorectal cancer Droplet digital PCR DNA test Fusobacterium nucleatum Prognosis
We are very grateful to Ms. Naoko Okayama and Mr. Hidekazu Mizuno of Yamaguchi University Hospital for their invaluable help in analyzing the data. This study was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant no. 25460687.
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Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interest.
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