Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center releases two new studies that reveal how bacteria infiltrate tumors and how they could be helping tumors progress and spread. The studies focused on an oral bacterium called Fusobacterium nucleatum. Tumors with lab-based experiments and small-molecule drug screens show that F. nucleatum may shape conditions in tumors to keep them safe from immune attack and help them spread through the body. They discovered that some cancer therapeutics may work because they not only target tumor cells, but also the bacteria that are helping them.
The study collaborators also note that microbial communities aren’t unique to colorectal cancer tumors. Breast, pancreatic, and lung tumors have also been shown to harbor microbial communities.