A family of bacteria has become increasingly resistant to last-resort antibiotics during the past decade, and more hospitalized patients are getting lethal infections that, in some cases, are impossible to cure. The findings, published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Signs report, are a call to action for the entire health care community to work urgently – individually, regionally and nationally – to protect patients. During just the first half of 2012, almost 200 hospitals and long-term acute care facilities treated at least one patient infected with these bacteria.
Recent studies have shown that individuals with colorectal cancer have an altered gut microbiome compared to healthy controls. It remains unclear whether these differences are a response to tumorigenesis or actively drive tumorigenesis. To determine the role of the gut microbiome in the development of colorectal cancer, we characterized the gut microbiome in a murine model of inﬂammation-associated colorectal cancer that mirrors what is seen in humans. We followed the development of an abnormal microbial community structure associated with inﬂammation and tumorigenesis in the colon. Tumor-bearing mice showed enrichment in operational taxonomic units (OTUs) afﬁliated with members of the Bacteroides Conventionalization of germfree mice with microbiota from tumor-bearing mice signiﬁcantly increased tumorigenesis in the colon compared to that for animals colonized with a healthy gut microbiome from untreated mice. Furthermore, at the end of the model, germfree mice colonized with microbiota from tumor-bearing mice harbored a higher relative abundance of populations associated with tumor formation in conventional animals. Manipulation of the gut microbiome with antibiotics resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the number and size of tumors. Our results demonstrate that changes in the gut microbiome associated with inﬂammation and tumorigenesis directly contribute to tumorigenesis and suggest that interventions affecting the composition of the microbiome may be a strategy to prevent the development of colon cancer.