New findings reveal how to regulate the microbiota to modify the course of lung cancer
- Three studies show the importance of the microbiota in the onset, extension and evolution of the disease.
- “They open up new avenues for early diagnosis and new treatments by regulating their function, either with probiotics or, more likely, with postbiotics,” recalls Luis Usán, medical director of the biotechnological company Igen Biolab Group.
- Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers. Every year, more than 1.8 million people are diagnosed and 1.6 million of them succumb worldwide.
Madrid, July 29, 2022. Three new studies arrive that place the microbiota at the epicenter of lung cancer. The works support the important role of the ‘second brain’ in the onset, extension and evolution of the disease and open new avenues for early diagnosis and new treatments by regulating its function.
This is defended by Dr. Luis Usán, medical director of the biotechnological company Igen Biolab Group, who maintains that “either with probiotics or more likely with postbiotics generated from bacterial consortia, the microbiota could be interceded to achieve a better prognosis of the disease ” .
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers. Every year, more than 1.8 million people are diagnosed and 1.6 million of them succumb worldwide. In Spain, lung and bronchial neoplasms have been the deadliest in the first five months of 2020, with 9,143 deaths, which represents 19.4% of all deaths from cancer in the country as a whole, according to SEPAR . In addition, it was the second national cause of death among men in the first five months of 2020, with a rate of 30 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by cases of suspected Covid-19, with a rate of 24.4 deaths. per 100,000 inhabitants, according to partial data on mortality that occurred in 2020, from the National Institute of Statistics (INE).La íntima relación
“Recently, different teams of Chinese researchers have published three studies on the relationship between alterations in the human microbiota and lung cancer, revealing an intimate relationship between the evolution and progression of the disease and the metabolic alterations produced by the dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota. and pulmonary”, insists Luis Usán.
The first study, published in ‘Bioengineered’ and led by Wen Zeng, from the Ganzhou Cancer Hospital at Ganzhou University, focused on describing the differences between the intestinal microbiota of healthy patients and the microbiota of patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples were obtained from 46 patients with non-small cell lung cancer and 29 with benign lung disease.
Luis Usán recalls that “significant differences were evidenced in three genera of bacteria that participate in the regulation of different cellular metabolic pathways such as the pentose phosphate pathway, critical for handling DNA repairs, proliferation and metastasis of tumor cells or the pathway of the glutathione with antioxidant properties, maintain or exceed cell life depending on its levels and response to chemotherapy”.
Thus, in terms of bacterial composition, the non-small cell lung cancer group was enriched with two Phyla (Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes) and three genera (Streptococcus, Prevotella, Veillonella). Prevotella and Veillonella were most strongly associated with non-small cell lung cancer, and Veillonella significantly promoted disease progression in vivo. “These different genera may be potential diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets,” the researchers note.
The second work has been published in ‘Frontiers in Microbiology’. It details that “previous studies have shown that the gut microbiome plays an important role in the development and progression of metabolic cancers; however, data on the characteristics of the gut microbiome with different histopathological types of lung cancer remain scarce.
So they collected stool samples from 28 healthy people and 61 lung cancer patients. “In this, the characteristics were analyzed, this time of the lung microbiota and its function of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with the lung microbiota of people with other lung pathologies. They found significant differences in the characteristics and abundance of the lung microbiota, and in particular of bacteria of the genus Prevotella and Veillonella”, asserts the Igen Biolab Group expert.
And he insists: “Again, they observed alterations in metabolic pathways related to the synthesis of metabolites, ribosomes and pyrimidine as being responsible for the progression of the disease.”
Finally, the third investigation, from ‘Frontiers in Oncology’, was also carried out with stool samples from 100 participants. “In this case, the relationship between intestinal dysbiosis and the histopathological characteristics of different moments of evolution of lung cancer was analyzed. A decrease in bacteria with anti-inflammatory characteristics was observed compared to healthy subjects and an increase in proinflammatory or tumor-promoting bacteria in patients with oncological disease, these changes being greater in those affected with greater histopathological progression, which is accompanied by changes in cellular metabolic pathways”, recalls the Spanish expert.
These studies, he adds, “reveal the importance of the microbiota in lung cancer, but in any case, clinical studies will be necessary to demonstrate its usefulness in these patients.
Igen Biolab is a biotechnology company based in Switzerland, which has its main R&D laboratory in Spain. The company is focused on studying the impact of the microbiota in the prevention and treatment of various metabolic, autoimmune or degenerative diseases. Specifically, among other ongoing research, it is evaluating the impact of the Igen-0206 product on the quality of life of patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
Rosana Ribera de Gracia