The microbiota has been shown to promote intestinal tumourigenesis, but a possible anti-tumourigenic effect has also been postulated. Here, we demonstrate that changes in the microbiota and mucus composition are concomitant with tumourigenesis. We identified two anti-tumourigenic strains of the microbiota—Faecalibaculum rodentium and its human homologue, Holdemanella biformis—that are strongly under-represented during tumourigenesis.

Reconstitution of ApcMin/+ or azoxymethane- and dextran sulfate sodium-treated mice with an isolate of F. rodentium (F. PB1) or its metabolic products reduced tumour growth. Both F. PB1 and H. biformis produced short-chain fatty acids that contributed to control protein acetylation and tumour cell proliferation by inhibiting calcineurin and NFATc3 activation in mouse and human settings. We have thus identified endogenous anti-tumourigenic bacterial strains with strong diagnostic, therapeutic and translational potential.

Read more: Nature