Identification of a Distinct Bacterial Subtype


Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center discovered a distinct subtype of Fusobacterium bacteria, named Fna C2, which is notably abundant in colorectal cancer (CRC) tumors.

GS-03 (Science and technology)


  • Association with Rising CRC Incidence: With CRC being the seventh most common cancer in India, and globally witnessing a surge in early-onset cases, this study gains significance in understanding the bacterial factors contributing to this trend.
  • Genetic and Physical Attributes: The Fna C2 subtype exhibited genetic and physical characteristics that enhance its ability to colonize CRC tumors. These traits include metabolic genes for energy utilization and resistance to acidic environments.
  • Mouse Model Validation: Experiments on mice showed that Fna C2 bacteria induced precancerous adenomas in the gut, further validating its association with CRC development.
  • Potential for Clinical Applications: The study’s findings pave the way for developing early detection tests and targeted treatments for CRC by leveraging the distinct characteristics of Fna C2 bacteria.
  • Challenges and Future Directions: While promising, translating these findings into clinical applications poses challenges, such as selectively targeting Fna C2 bacteria without affecting beneficial gut flora. Future research directions include tracking the colonization timeline of Fna C2 bacteria and exploring microbial interventions for CRC treatment.

Colorectal cancer (CRC):

  • Definition and Symptoms: Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer, originates from the colon or rectum.
    • Symptoms include blood in stool, changes in bowel habits, weight loss, abdominal pain, and fatigue.
  • Risk Factors: Most CRC cases are attributed to old age and lifestyle factors, with diet, obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity being prominent risk factors.
    • Dietary factors such as red and processed meat, alcohol consumption, and inflammatory bowel disease also increase the risk.
  • Genetic Disorders and Benign Tumors: While inherited genetic disorders like familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer contribute to a small percentage of cases, CRC typically begins as benign tumors known as polyps, which can eventually become cancerous.
  • Treatment Options: Treatments for CRC may involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Surgical removal can be curative for cancers confined within the colon wall, but widespread cancer is often incurable, with treatment focused on symptom management and improving quality of life.
  • Survival Rates and Global Impact: The five-year survival rate for CRC in the United States was approximately 65% in 2014, varying based on cancer stage and overall health.
    • Globally, CRC ranks as the third most common cancer, comprising about 10% of all cases, with over 1 million new cases and 550,000 deaths reported annually. It is more prevalent in developed countries, particularly among men.