Commensal microbiota dysbiosis is associated with the development of lung cancer. The current studies about composition of respiratory microbiota in lung cancer patients yielded inconsistent results. This study aimed to examine the association between airway microbiota and lung cancer clinicopathological characteristics.
Surgically removed lesion tissues from 75 non-small cell lung cancer patients and 7 patients with benign pulmonary diseases were analyzed by 16S rRNA sequencing. Taxonomy, relative abundance, and diversity of respiratory microbiota were compared among lung cancer of different pathology and TNM stages. The effects of antibiotic and cigarette exposure on respiratory microbiota in lung cancer patients were also evaluated.
Bacterial relative abundance and alpha- and beta-diversity analysis of lung microbiota showed significant differences among lung cancer of different pathology and benign pulmonary diseases. At the genus level, the abundance differences of 13 taxa between lung squamous cell carcinoma and lung adenocarcinoma, 63 taxa between lung squamous cell carcinoma and benign pulmonary diseases, and 4 taxa between lung adenocarcinoma and benign pulmonary diseases reached statistical significance. In contrast, diversity differences were not as significant across lung cancer of different stages. No significant differences were observed in tissue taxonomic abundances and diversity at all taxonomic levels between lung cancer patients with and without antibiotic exposure 3 months prior to surgery. For lung adenocarcinoma, respiratory bacterial abundance and diversity at all taxonomic levels did not show significant differences between smokers and non-smokers.
Our results confirm significantly differential respiratory microbiome taxa, abundance, and diversity in lung cancer of different pathology and some stages. Short-term antibiotic application might play a minor role in molding airway microbiota in lung cancer patients. Composition and diversity of respiratory microbiota in lung adenocarcinoma are not affected by cigarette exposure.