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Researchers Find Link Between Intestinal Bacteria and Lymphoma

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Key Points

  • In mice with B-cell lymphoma–associated ataxia-telangiectasia, those with certain microbial species lived much longer than those with other bacteria before developing lymphoma, and had less of the genotoxicity that causes lymphoma.
  • The scientists created a detailed catalog of bacteria types with promoting or protective effects on genotoxicity lymphoma, which could be used in the future to create combined therapies with antibiotic or probiotic effects.

Researchers from UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) have discovered that specific types of bacteria that live in the gut are major contributors to lymphoma. The study, led by Robert H. Schiestl, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Environmental Health Sciences, and Radiation Oncology at JCCC, was published online in Cancer Research.

In rodents, intestinal bacteria influence obesity, intestinal inflammation, and certain types of epithelial cancers. However, little is known about the identity of the bacterial species that promote the growth of or protect the body from cancer, or about their effect on lymphoma.

Study Details

Dr. Schiestl's group sought to determine whether differences in people's microbiomes affect their risk for lymphoma, and whether changing the bacteria can reduce this risk. They studied mice with ataxia-telangiectasia, a genetic disease that in humans and mice is associated with a high rate of B-cell lymphoma. They discovered that, in mice with ataxia-telangiectasia, those with certain microbial species lived much longer than those with other bacteria before developing lymphoma, and had less of the genotoxicity that causes lymphoma.

"This study is the first to show a relationship between intestinal microbiota and the onset of lymphoma," Dr. Schiestl said. "Given that intestinal microbiota is a potentially modifiable trait, these results hold considerable promise for intervention of B-cell lymphoma and other diseases."

The scientists were also able to create a detailed catalog of bacteria types with promoting or protective effects on genotoxicity lymphoma, which could be used in the future to create combined therapies that kill the bacteria that promote cancer (such as antibiotics) and expand the bacteria that protect from cancer (such as probiotics).

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, JCCC, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research, NASA, University of California Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program, and the UCLA Graduate Division.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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