Differences in the composition and diversity of the gut microbial communities among individuals are influenced by environmental factors. However, there is limited research on factors affecting microbiome variation in colorectal cancer patients, who display lower inter-individual variations than that of healthy individuals. In this study, we examined the association between modifiable factors and the microbiome variation in colorectal cancer patients.
A total of 331 colorectal cancer patients who underwent resection surgery at the Department of Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital between October 2017 and August 2019 were included. Fecal samples from colorectal cancer patients were collected prior to the surgery. Variations in the gut microbiome among patients with different lifestyles and metabolic diseases were examined through the network analysis of inter-connected microbial abundance, the assessment of the Anna Karenina principle effect for microbial stochasticity, and the identification of the enriched bacteria using linear discrimination analysis effect size. Associations of dietary diversity with microbiome variation were investigated using the Procrustes analysis.
We found stronger network connectivity of microbial communities in non-smokers, non-drinkers, obese individuals, hypertensive subjects, and individuals without diabetes than in their counterparts. The Anna Karenina principle effect was found for history of smoking, alcohol consumption, and diabetes (with significantly greater intra-sample similarity index), whereas obesity and hypertension showed the anti-Anna Karenina principle effect (with significantly lower intra-sample similarity index). We found certain bacterial taxa to be significantly enriched in patients of different categories of lifestyles and metabolic diseases using linear discrimination analysis. Diversity of food and nutrient intake did not shape the microbial diversity between individuals (pProcrustes>0.05).