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Bacteria May Predict Chances of Colon Cancer

Presence of certain types in gut indicated higher, lower risk of disease, study finds

TUESDAY, May 25, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers report that germs living in your gut could affect your risk of developing colon cancer.

The findings suggest that signs of the existence of some germs "are more frequently detected in subjects with polyps, early lesions that can develop into cancer, while other bacterial signatures are less frequently observed in such individuals," Tyler Culpepper, a University of Florida researcher, said in a news release.

Culpepper and colleagues studied 91 patients and took biopsy samples from their colons. They analyzed the bacteria in 30 people who had at least one polyp and 30 people who didn't but were of similar age and gender.

Researchers found some bacterial signatures only in those who had polyps and others only in those who didn't. Others were more common in one group or the other.

The findings suggest that future screening tests could aim to detect signs of trouble in the colon by measuring bacteria levels, Culpepper said.

The findings were scheduled to be released Tuesday at the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting in San Diego.

More information

For more on colon cancer, see the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCE: American Society for Microbiology, press release, May 24, 2010
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