Ann Surg Treat Res.  2020 Jul;99(1):44-51. 10.4174/astr.2020.99.1.44.

The effect of curative resection on fecal microbiota in patients with colorectal cancer: a prospective pilot study

  • 1Center for Colorectal Cancer, Research Institute and Hospital, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea


Although many studies have evaluated the association between intestinal microorganisms and the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), only a few studies have investigated the changes in microorganisms following curative treatment for CRC. The current study analyzed changes in intestinal microbiota following curative surgery in CRC patients.
Stool samples were collected before and 6 months after surgery, from 11 patients with clinical stage III CRC, who underwent curative surgery between May 2017 and June 2017. Next, 16S rRNA gene sequencing was performed. Operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and alpha diversity were evaluated using the Shannon index. The bacterial compositions of the stools were analyzed according to taxonomic rank at genus and phylum levels.
OTUs and alpha diversity were significantly decreased following surgery (P < 0.001 and P = 0.019, respectively). The compositions of several bacterial taxa changed after surgery. At genus level, proportions of pathogens such as Campylobacter, Fusobacterium, Haemophilus, Porphyromonas, and Prevotella, decreased after surgery (adjusted P < 0.05). At phylum level, the proportion of Fusobacteria decreased after surgery (adjusted P < 0.001).
Significant changes in intestinal microbial communities were noted following curative resection of CRC patients. Especially, decreases in pathogenic bacterial populations, such as Fusobacterium and Prevotella, which are known to be associated with CRC development, were detected even though OTUs and alpha diversity were decreased following curative resection. To determine and validate the clinical significance of these findings, large scale, prospective studies that include cancer prognoses are required.


Colorectal neoplasms; Gut microbiota; Surgery
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