Gut bacteria ‘fingerprint’ predicts radiotherapy side effects

Radiotherapy is important in managing pelvic cancers. However, radiation enteropathy may occur and can be dose limiting. The gut microbiota may contribute to the pathogenesis of radiation enteropathy.

We hypothesized that the microbiome differs between patients with and without radiation enteropathy.Three cohorts of patients (n = 134) were recruited. The early cohort (n = 32) was followed sequentially up to 12 months post-radiotherapy to assess early radiation enteropathy. Linear mixed models were used to assess microbiota dynamics.

The late cohort (n = 87) was assessed cross-sectionally to assess late radiation enteropathy. The colonoscopy cohort compared the intestinal mucosa microenvironment in patients with radiation enteropathy (cases, n = 9) with healthy controls (controls, n = 6).

Fecal samples were obtained from all cohorts. In the colonoscopy cohort, intestinal mucosa samples were taken. Metataxonomics (16S rRNA gene) and imputed metataxonomics (Piphillin) were used to characterize the microbiome. Clinician- and patient-reported outcomes were used for clinical characterization.

The microbiota presents opportunities to predict, prevent, or treat radiation enteropathy. This studie of Clinical Medical Reaseach is We the largest clinical study to date into associations of the microbiota with acute and late radiation enteropathy.

An altered microbiota associates with early and late radiation enteropathy, with clinical implications for risk assessment, prevention, and treatment of radiation-induced side-effects.

Read more:  Clinical Cancer Research