This disease shows slow growth and, when diagnosed earlier, has high potential to be cured
A new study by researchers at the Cancer Center A.Camargo, University of São Paulo (USP) and the University of Trento, Italy, found an association between colorectal cancer and changes in the intestinal microbiota. By analyzing seven studies on subjects using software, specialists have reached 16 bacteria which can indicate the presence of disease in patients. The findings, published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, may be a tool in the future for a more accurate diagnosis and as a basis for establishing preventive measures.
For the study, stool samples were analyzed from 969 patients who were divided into groups with and without disease. The samples came from patients from the United States, Canada, Japan, China, France, Germany and Italy.
"More and more microbiota will be a strong element in the treatment and prevention of various diseases, and to find the cause," said Andrew Thomas, a biologist and researcher in the field of human microbiology. "We have used the software we produce in Italy, and bioinformatics, who is the main author of this study.
According to Thomas, at first, all bacteria that were part of the intestinal microbioma were evaluated and the researchers began the process of reducing the species used in the study to reach group 16 which indicated the presence of disease.
"Maybe some patients have 16 or a subset of 16, their variations, but when you look at the profile with them, it's a predictive source for colorectal cancer. Control (healthy patients) may have but more likely who isn't."
Specialists say that colorectal cancer is slow to grow and, when diagnosed early, has a high potential to be cured. He explained that the results should not cause invasive exams such as colonoscopy to be replaced by techniques but that might be one more way to make a more accurate diagnosis. "We recognize that when we combine microbiota use with fecal blood tests, we have greater precision and sensitivity."
In Brazil, according to the National Cancer Institute (INCA), there are an estimated 36,360 cases of disease per year (2018). People over the age of 50, overweight patients, those with a family history and people who consume excess red meat and are built-in are more at risk of developing this disease. Stool blood, weakness, weight loss and changes in bowel habits are some of the symptoms.
Thomas said research could also offer a way to prevent disease. "We found that the presence of choline degrading enzymes, nutrients found in fat and red meat, are more abundant in patients with colorectal cancer. This creates a connection between what should be the food of those who want to avoid disease." This nutrient degradation has been linked to disease cardiovascular.
This study is part of PhD Thomas in bioinformatics from USP and the University of Trento with a grant from the Research Support Foundation of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP).
Correio do Estado