Fusobacterium nucleatum tumor DNA levels are associated with survival in colorectal cancer patients

Andrew T Kunzmann, Marcela Alcântara Proença, Haydee Wt Jordao, Katerina Jiraskova, Michaela Schneiderova, Miroslav Levy, Václav Liska, Tomas Buchler, Ludmila Vodickova, Veronika Vymetalkova, Ana Elizabete Silva, Pavel Vodicka, David J Hughes

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There is increasing evidence indicating a role for Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum) in colorectal cancer (CRC) development and prognosis. This study evaluated F. nucleatum as a prognostic biomarker, by assessing its association with post-diagnosis survival from CRC. From September 2008 to April 2012 CRC patients (n = 190) were recruited from three hospitals within the Czech Republic. F. nucleatum DNA copies were measured in adjacent non-malignant and colorectal tumor tissues using quantitative real-time PCR. Cox Proportional Hazards (HR) models were applied to evaluate the association between F. nucleatum DNA and overall survival, adjusting for key confounders. Risk prediction modeling was conducted to evaluate the ability to predict survival based on F. nucleatum status. High, compared with low, levels of F. nucleatum in colorectal tumor tissues were associated with poorer overall survival (adjusted HR 1.68, 95% CI 1.02-2.77), which was slightly attenuated after additional adjustment for microsatellite instability status. However, inclusion of F. nucleatum in risk prediction models did not improve the ability to identify patients who died beyond known prognostic factors such as disease pathology staging. Although the increased presence of F. nucleatum was associated with poorer prognosis in CRC patients, this may have limited clinical relevance as a prognostic biomarker.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
Early online date31 Jul 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 31 Jul 2019


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