Investigation of the association between the fecal microbiota and breast cancer in postmenopausal women: a population-based case-control pilot study.
Journal: J Natl Cancer Inst
Date: 2015 Aug
Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): NSRG
PubMed ID: 26032724
PMC ID: PMC4554191
Abstract: We investigated whether the gut microbiota differed in 48 postmenopausal breast cancer case patients, pretreatment, vs 48 control patients. Microbiota profiles in fecal DNA were determined by Illumina sequencing and taxonomy of 16S rRNA genes. Estrogens were quantified in urine. Case-control comparisons employed linear and unconditional logistic regression of microbiota α-diversity (PD_whole tree) and UniFrac analysis of β-diversity, with two-sided statistical tests. Total estrogens correlated with α-diversity in control patients (Spearman Rho = 0.37, P = .009) but not case patients (Spearman Rho = 0.04, P = .77). Compared with control patients, case patients had statistically significantly altered microbiota composition (β-diversity, P = .006) and lower α-diversity (P = .004). Adjusted for estrogens and other covariates, odds ratio of cancer was 0.50 (95% confidence interval = 0.30 to 0.85) per α-diversity tertile. Differences in specific taxa were not statistically significant when adjusted for multiple comparisons. This pilot study shows that postmenopausal women with breast cancer have altered composition and estrogen-independent low diversity of their gut microbiota. Whether these affect breast cancer risk and prognosis is unknown.